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Lions Week 17 injury report: Derrick Barnes, Jerry Jacobs return to practice

Checking in on the Detroit Lions' initial Week 17 injury report, as they prepare to take on the Dallas Cowboys.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Detroit Lions Photo by Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The NFC North champion Detroit Lions (11-4) are on the road in Week 17—their final road game of the regular season—taking on the Dallas Cowboys (10-5) in a battle for post-season seeding in the NFC.

Because this game will be played on Saturday night (8:15 p.m. ET in primetime), the team’s schedules are slightly altered this week. Instead of practice starting on Wednesday, everything will be pushed up a day, meaning their first practice is on Tuesday, followed by practices on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Tuesday, as is typical on an adjusted week, Detroit only held a walkthrough. As a result, all of the participation levels in this report are estimates—best guesses if there was a full practice—from Lions coaches. With that in mind, 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

On Tuesday, coach Dan Campbell mentioned that the Lions were close to starting the evaluation clock on James Houston.

“There’s a good chance we start Houston’s clock,” Campbell told 97.1 The Ticket during his weekly interview.

But when Campbell was in front of the media later that afternoon, he backed off that estimation, saying he wasn’t quite sure what they would do—which makes sense, considering the Lions don’t typically start player’s injury evaluation clocks on short weeks.

“Yeah, look, there’s a chance, there’s a chance we start it,” Campbell elaborated. “I made a comment this morning about it, I don’t know. We may (start his clock), we may wait a week. We’ll see where he’s at. He’s close to starting the clock.”

While the Lions didn’t officially start Houston’s clock during their walkthrough on Tuesday, it’s still possible he will get back at practice in the very near future.

No practice on Tuesday

  • TE Brock Wright (groin) — Did not play in Week 16

After being injured against the Broncos, Wright was unable to practice last week and did not play against the Vikings. Because Tuesday was only an estimate, it’s possible he will return later in the week, but right now coaches don’t think he is able to practice, which is not an ideal sign.

Estimated limited practice

  • LT Taylor Decker (groin) — Injured vs. Vikings
  • FB Jason Cabina (knee) — evaluation days remaining: 15
  • DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson (pectoral) — evaluation days remaining: 15

Decker shows back up on the injury report this week, but the fact that coaches believe he would have been able to practice in some capacity is a good sign. Tomorrow the Lions will be back on the practice field and we will get a better understanding of where he is in his recovery stage at that time.

Cabinda and Gardner-Johnson continue to work their way through the evaluation process, and while they are eligible to be activated at any time, that decision typically doesn’t happen until late in the week. All signs are positive for Gardner-Johnson, who seems close to returning.

“We’re going to take it as it comes here,” Campbell said about Gardner-Johnson’s status. “We’ll have a walkthrough today, so there’s not so much we can do and then tomorrow will be more of the physical and we’ll just kind of take it as it comes. Certainly, if we’re able to—he’s ready, it adds another weapon on defense is what it does, another playmaker.”

Full practice

  • C Frank Ragnow (toe/back/knee)
  • RT Penei Sewell (shoulder)
  • LB Derrick Barnes (shoulder) — Upgraded after not playing in Week 16
  • CB Jerry Jacobs (hamstring) — Upgraded after not playing in Week 16

Ragnow has been dealing with a multitude of injuries all season and the fact that he was expected to have been a full participant is a positive sign. He may still get a scheduled day off later in the week, but he’s off to a good start.

Sewell played through his shoulder injury last week and did not appear to be impacted by the injury. The Lions will likely take it slow with him but an estimated full practice is a good sign he’ll be ready to play.

Barnes was a limited participant last week but was given a doubtful designation and sure enough, when the game arrived, he was declared inactive. Still, the fact that he was at least in consideration to play, combined with an estimated full practice, is a solid sign he is trending toward returning this week.

Jacobs did not practice at all last week, so his return to an estimated full practice is very encouraging. If he is able to go, the Lions will get a boost to their special teams play and another body to compete at outside corner for playing time.

No longer on the injury report

  • DT Levi Onwuzurike (knee)
  • DE Josh Paschal (hand) — injured during Vikings game, was able to return
  • S Kerby Joseph (concussion) — passed protocols during the Vikings game

Cowboys injury report

Of note: the Cowboys also held a walkthrough on Tuesday.

Did not participate

  • LT Tyron Smith (back)
  • NT Johnathan Hankins (knee/ankle)

Limited due to injury

  • RB Rico Dowdle (ankle)
  • FB Hunter Luepke (thigh)
  • S Malik Hooker (ankle)

Limited due to veteran rest

  • WR Brandin Cooks (veteran rest)
  • G Zack Martin (veteran rest)
  • DE Demarcus Lawrence (veteran rest)
  • CB Stephon Gilmore (veteran rest)
  • CB Jourdan Lewis (veteran rest)

Full participant

  • OT Matt Waletzko (shoulder, IR designated for return)
  • DE Viliami Fehoko (knee, IR designated for return)

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