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Detroit Lions rookie QB Hendon Hooker’s return from injury is imminent

The Detroit Lions decision to activate Hendon Hooker from NFI could come as soon as this week.

NFLPA Rookie Premiere Portrait Session Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell was careful with his words but he certainly seemed to indicate that rookie quarterback Hendon Hooker will start practicing for the first time in his NFL career very soon, potentially even this week.

“We could (bring him back this week),” Campbell said. Later adding, “I think we will. (General manager) Brad (Holmes) and I talked about it last week. I just don’t want to sit here and tell you, and then we don’t do it and I lied to you.”

Hooker suffered a torn ACL in mid-November of 2022 in his final season at Tennessee. The Lions drafted him in the third round knowing his rehab would hold him out of the majority of his rookie season, but liked the promise that he offered. Prior to his injury, Hooker was in the midst of a Heisman Trophy campaign, completing 69.6 percent of his passes for 3,135 yards, 27 passing touchdowns and just two interceptions. He was also a threat with his feet, rushing for 430 yards and five touchdowns in his senior season.

If Hooker does indeed return to practice this week, it will start his 21-day clock to come off the Non-Football Injury list. Within those three weeks, the Lions will either have to add Hooker to the 53-man roster or decide to keep him on the NFI list for the rest of the season, where he will be unable to practice.

Campbell explained why it’s so important for Hooker to see the practice field before his rookie season ends.

“By rules, we can’t coach him, that’s why,” Campbell. “We can have him in meetings, but he can’t be out there and going through any fundamental work. He’s just kinda gotta stand there. So that’s where it helps. To be able to actually do individual work with him. Have him take a snap. That’s why it’s big. It’d be nice to be able to just do some of those things with him.”

The Lions’ first practice of the week is expected on Wednesday.

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