After missing Thursday’s practice with a groin injury, Detroit Lions center Frank Ragnow will return to the field on Friday, according to coach Dan Campbell.
“Frank’s going to run around today, and so we’ll see what he looks like,” Campbell said.
Ragnow first appeared on the injury report on Wednesday, when he was limited. A mid-week downgrade to out is typically a bad sign for a player’s availability that week. And while a return to the practice field is certainly a step in the right direction for Ragnow, Campbell wasn’t ready to call his status for Sunday “optimistic.”
“Not yet,” Campbell said. “We’ll know a lot post-practice. I think it’ll tell us a ton, but I know he wants to give it a go. He had a smile on his face this morning, so I take that as at least a step in the right direction.”
If Ragnow can’t go for Sunday’s season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Lions will almost certainly promote Evan Brown in his place. Brown started 13 games for the Lions last year while Ragnow dealt with a foot injury, and Campbell said he felt good about him should he have to play this week.
“Evan banked a lot of reps for us last year and did a heck of a job for us,” Campbell said. “Shoot, I have a lot of confidence in him.”
Unfortunately, that’s not the only position on the offensive line the Lions will have to adjust for the opening game. With Halapoulivaati Vaitai recently placed on injured reserve, the Lions will have to find a replacement at right guard. One of their top options to replace Vaitai is second-year guard Tommy Kraemer, but he has been battling a back injury, and Campbell cast doubt on his availability this week.
“As it pertains to Kraemer, I would say he’s probably—it’s looking a little grim for him,” Campbell said.
This week the Lions have been toying around with several different options at right guard, including bumping up Logan Stenberg from the reserves, moving Penei Sewell to guard and replacing him with Matt Nelson at right tackle, or even moving Ragnow—if healthy—to guard.
Campbell said they “have an idea of where we want to go with it,” but opted not to share exactly what the team’s plans are.
“Yeah, I’m not going to tell.”