The Detroit Lions (10-4) are on the road in Week 16, taking on division rival Minnesota Vikings (7-7). The Lions are back to their normal schedule this week, opening practice on Wednesday and declaring their injury designations on Friday.
For now, the Lions continue to be relatively healthy—especially with their starters—and they are even working towards returning players from injured reserve. Let’s take a look at where things sit at the beginning of the practice week.
NOTE: Any changes from last week’s injury report will be bolded.
Injured reserve, Non-Football injury list
- RB Mohamed Ibrahim (hip): Practice squad IR — eligible to return at any time
- FB Jason Cabinda (knee): IR — Evaluation clock started
- OT Matt Nelson (ankle): IR — eligible to return at any time
- OG Halapoulivaati Vaitai (back): IR — eligible to return at any time
- DT Alim McNeill (knee): IR — eligible to return in Week 18
- EDGE James Houston (fibula): IR — eligible to return at any time
- DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson (pectoral): IR — Evaluation clock started
- LS Scott Daly (knee): IR — eligible to return at any time
Hendon Hooker, who was previously on this list with an NFI designation due to an ACL injury, has completed his medical evaluation and has been added to the active roster.
Cabinda and Gardner-Johnson both had their evaluation clocks started on Wednesday, meaning they are eligible to practice for the next 21 days without counting against the active roster. Over those 21 days, if the Lions determine either player is ready to contribute on game day, they can be activated to the 53-man roster. If not added to the roster during those 21 days, the Lions will be forced to make an alternative decision for that player(s)—either placing them back on injured reserve and ending their season or releasing them from the team.
He’s baaaaaaaaaack— Colton Pouncy (@colton_pouncy) December 20, 2023
Lions DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson is practicing Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/bpAh93ah7Q
No practice on Wednesday
- TE Brock Wright (groin) — injured vs. Broncos
- CB Jerry Jacobs (hamstring) — injured vs. Broncos
Wright injured his groin at the end of the first half against the Broncos and was unable to play during the second half of the game.
Jacobs was demoted from his starting role against the Broncos and was relegated to special teams contributions only. Unfortunately for Jacobs, he was also injured in this role, only playing roughly half the game before being ruled out.
Restricting players from practicing on Wednesday after being ruled out during the previous game is common with this coaching staff, but soft tissue injuries tend to linger so these situations are worth monitoring.
Estimated limited practice
- FB Jason Cabina (knee) — evaluation days remaining: 21
- RT Penei Sewell (shoulder) — NEW INJURY
- DT Levi Onwuzurike (knee) — NEW INJURY
- LB Derrick Barnes (shoulder) — injured vs. Broncos
- DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson (pectoral) — evaluation days remaining: 21
Cabinda injured his knee in Week 5 and has been on injured reserve since. There haven’t been any notable updates on his progress—outside of the evaluation window being opened—so it’s not entirely clear how long he may need before he is ready to contribute in games.
Sewell nor Onwuzurike were announced as having been injured during the game so it’s possible that their injuries became notable in the days following the game. Getting in limited practices is a solid first step for their being active this weekend and isn’t overly concerning at this time. That being said, whenever a player is added to the injury report without it being known how they were injured is worth monitoring.
Barnes was also injured at the end of the first half, but he was able to return to game action in the second half and looked comfortable. The fact that he was able to return is a good sign that, even if the Lions take things slow with him this week, he has the potential to be available this weekend.
Gardner-Johnson’s return from a Week 2 pectoral tale is remarkable and exceeded the expectations of the team. Because Gardner-Johnson is significantly ahead of schedule, it’s possible he may require some time before he can get back into football shape. That being said, with his ability to get where he is already, it’s probably a good idea not to bet against him being available quickly.
- C Frank Ragnow (toe/back/knee)
Ragnow continues to land on the injury report but his injuries have not limited him in the games he has been active. His most recent injury required meniscus surgery, yet he was back on the field in less than two weeks and playing on every offensive snap.
“He’s a tough dude and he’s a mind over matter (guy), but ultimately, what it’s about for him, I just go back to this, you can call it what you want, he is terrified of letting his teammates down,” Campbell said on Monday. “That means more to him than anything. That’s just the way he is, and that’s why guys respect the hell out of him.”
No longer on the injury report
- QB Hendon Hooker (ACL)
- WR Josh Reynolds (back)
- LT Taylor Decker (back)
- DT Benito Jones (neck)
Vikings injury report
Here’s a look at the Vikings' initial injury report (starters bolded):
Did not practice
- RB Alexander Mattison (ankle)
- WR Jalen Nailor (concussion)
- RT Brian O’Neill (ankle)
- DT Harrison Phillips (back)
- EDGE Danielle Hunter (illness)
- CB Byron Murphy Jr. (hamstring)
- DL Jonathan Bullard (ankle)
- DT Sheldon Day (ankle)
- LB Jordan Hicks (shin - IR)