The Detroit Lions currently have nine players on injury lists, and while four of them are considered season-ending injuries, there are still players who are eligible to return, including one new name this week.
Here’s an updated overview of the Lions’ injured players and when they are eligible to return. Note: bolded players are currently eligible.
- QB Hendon Hooker (ACL): NFI — eligible to return at any time
- QB Nate Sudfeld (ACL): IR — season-ending
- RB Zonovan Knight (shoulder): IR — season-ending
- FB Jason Cabinda (knee): IR — eligible to return in Week 9
- TE Shane Zylstra (knee): IR — season-ending
- OT Matt Nelson (ankle): IR — eligible to return in Week 8
- EDGE James Houston (fibula): IR — eligible to return at any time
- CB Emmanuel Moseley (ACL): IR — season-ending
- DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson (pectoral): IR — eligible to return at any time
As a reminder, NFL teams are only eligible to return eight players from injured reserve in a given season, and so far the Lions have used three of those options. Julian Okwara returned to the active roster in Week 5, CB/KR Khalil Dorsey returned in Week 6, and Josh Paschal returned in Week 7, meaning the Lions only have five available options remaining.
As you can see from the above list, in addition to quarterback Hendon Hooker, defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and pass-rushing linebacker James Houston, a new name was added to the eligibility list this week: offensive tackle Matt Nelson.
Nelson has been the Lions swing OT3 for the past several seasons and has made 14 starts over his career—which is now in its fourth year. This season, he started at right tackle in Week 2 and Week 3 but was forced from the game against Atlanta with an ankle injury.
Now, four weeks later, he is eligible to return if healthy, but it’s difficult to know when that will be considering his injury did require surgery.
“Yeah, Nelson, we’ll put Nelson down. He’s going to require surgery, so I hate that for him, so he’s down,” Campbell noted at the beginning of Week 4.
Recently, the Lions have been leaning on Dan Skipper and rookie Colby Sorsdal as their reserves at tackle, but coaches have previously shown a preference for using them inside. Therefore, when Nelson is healthy, expect the Lions to start his evaluation clock, so they can upgrade their depth at offensive tackle.