While the news isn’t great for Detroit Lions running back David Montgomery—who is expected to miss a few weeks—coach Dan Campbell offered more promising updates on several other players who have missed time due to injury.
Here’s a quick update on each:
RB Jahmyr Gibbs
The Lions rookie running back has missed two straight games with a hamstring injury, but Campbell sounded optimistic that he’ll return this week against the Baltimore Ravens.
“Yeah, I feel a lot better about Gibbs this week. He ran really well on Saturday before we left and had another really good workout today,” Campbell said.
Gibbs has rushed for 179 yards on 39 carries and pitched in an additional 70 yards on 14 catches in his four games thus far this season. His best game, not-so-coincidentally, came when Montgomery was inactive. Against the Falcons he rushed 17 times for 80 yards and appears now in line to get the bulk of the carries this week.
DB Brian Branch/TE James Mitchell
When talking about Gibbs, Campbell also unpromptedly brought up Branch and Mitchell.
“He, Mitchell, and Branch I thought all looked pretty good today,” Campbell said.
Branch has missed the past two weeks after suffering an ankle injury in Week 4 against the Green Bay Packers. The Lions have managed fine with veteran Will Harris in at the nickel position, but Branch was one of the team’s biggest playmakers through the first four games, tallying 25 tackles (3 for loss), four passes defended, and a pick-six.
Mitchell, on the other hand, has had a pretty limited role on offense thus far this year. Even at full health, the second-year tight end was averaging just five snaps a game. In his place, the Lions signed veteran Darrell Daniels to take over both his role and that of fullback Jason Cabinda.
G Halapoulivaati Vaitai
Vaitai has been back, active, and off the injury report for the past two weeks after suffering a knee injury in Week 2. However, the Lions have not pushed him into the starting lineup yet, opting to keep Graham Glasgow at right guard. This week, the Lions needed help at left guard with Jonah Jackson out, and they opted to keep Vaitai on the bench and play Kayode Awosika, instead.
Campbell made it sound like they were just taking it really slow with Vaitai over the past two weeks—giving him special teams reps—but it sounds like he’s getting close.
“Big V is just steadily coming back from this,” Campbell said. “He’s kinda been on the reserve. He was better this week than last week, but we just want to make sure he’s 100% ready to go, and then we’ll take it from there.”