The Detroit Lions hit the halfway point in the preseason on Saturday afternoon with a matinee matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. After a pair of joint practices between the two teams, both head coaches have decided to alter their strategy for the preseason game. Both Dan Campbell and Frank Reich have decided to rest most of their starters, using Saturday as an opportunity to explore their depth and keep their main contributors safe.
But beyond that, the Lions are still dealing with a number of injured players that will impact their roster for Saturday. So before things kick off at 1 p.m. ET, here’s a look at the players who are currently dealing with injury and the likelihood that they play against the colts.
Note: These percentage estimates are unofficial. They are simply educated guesses. The Lions are not required to submit an official injury report or inactives list.
Lions still on injury list (0% chance of playing)
The following five players are still on injury lists and are ineligible to play on Saturday.
- FB Jason Cabinda (PUP)
- WR Jameson Williams (NFI)
- EDGE Romeo Okwara (PUP)
- EDGE Josh Paschal (PUP)
- CB Jerry Jacobs (PUP)
Most of these players—with the exception of Jameson Williams—did not even make the trip down to Indianapolis
Lions who have missed a significant portion of practice (0-10% chance of playing)
- CB Ifeatu Melifonwu
- EDGE Julian Okwara
- DT Levi Onwuzurike
All week, we have not seen any signs of these three players, and we know the Lions specifically kept Onwuzurike at home. It’s very likely that all three of these players remain in Detroit, based on these comments from Campbell on Monday:
“We’re going (to hold) a number of guys back this week who we know won’t be ready to practice and just continue to treat them, get them ready, and see if we can get them going for Pittsburgh next week or that week of practice.”
Ideally, these players have been getting right all week at home, which could give them a chance to practice next week and play in the preseason finale, just to get their feet wet before the season opener.
Lions who have suffered recent injuries (50/50 chance of playing)
- WR Quintez Cephus
- TE Devin Funchess
- G Kevin Jarvis
- S C.J. Moore
Of the bunch, Cephus was the only one to participate in Thursday’s practice, and because he missed the preseason opener, I would say there’s a decent chance he plays against the Colts. It will be a big opportunity for him to prove he’s worthy of a reserve receiver spot.
Funchess suffered an upper-body injury on Wednesday, but he avoided a major injury.
“He’s good. We got him checked out last night, he’s good,” Campbell said. “He’s got a little bit of a stinger, so we’re going to get him loose and just see how he feels, and play it by ear. If he can go, great. If he can’t, he can’t.”
Funchess did not end up practicing on Thursday, but with now two days of rest, he has a real shot to play against the Colts.
This would also be a really important game for undrafted rookie guard Kevin Jarvis, but he showed up to Wednesday’s practice in Indy already injured. It’s unclear what he’s dealing with, but it’s at least a good sign that he traveled down with the team. Still, without practicing on Wednesday or Thursday, that’s not a good sign for his availability this week.
Finally, C.J. Moore has been in and out of the lineup since being removed from the non-football injury list two weeks ago. He did not play in the preseason opener and did not practice on Thursday. He feels like a true 50/50 split.
‘We’re being smart with them’ Lions players
This section pretty much includes all of the Lions starters. It’s hard to pick out individual players here, but coach Dan Campbell explained how he’ll bench most of the starters on Saturday, but still play some of the others who could use the extra reps.
“There’ll be a number of these guys that will not play in this game. A number of our starters, because they’re getting kind of the bulk of the reps, but there’ll be a number of guys that have gotten the load here that will still play in this game. Certainly, we’ve got a lot of battles still going on, but that would be the plan with this. That’s probably kind of like the structure of, you get two really good days of work and now you don’t really feel like you need to go to the game with them.”
In other words, the players they already trust—Jared Goff, D’Andre Swift, the starting wideouts, the entire starting offensive line, Tracy Walker, etc.—will likely not play on Saturday. However, the young players still acclimating and/or fighting for starting roles—Malcolm Rodriguez, Derrick Barnes, Jeff Okudah, Will Harris—could see the field a bit against the Colts.
This is more of a guessing game, but as a general rule: if the Lions would be devastated by a specific player getting injured in this game, that player is probably not going to suit up.