The Detroit Lions continue to get healthy and could be returning another impactful defender from injured reserve ahead of the playoffs.
On Thursday, the Lions medically cleared EDGE rusher James Houston for practice and started his injury evaluation clock. Houston broke his leg in Week 2 and was placed on injured reserve early in the season. While he has been eligible to return to practice for some time, the Lions only just started considering starting Houston’s clock this week.
“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.”
Houston burst onto the NFL scene in the middle of last season, registering eight sacks over the Lions final seven games. Quickly becoming a fan favorite because of his unique pass rushing skills and ability to impact a game at any time, Houston could be a huge boost for a Lions team looking for more ways to pressure the quarterback. This offseason, the Lions worked toward rounding out his game as a SAM linebacker—a position that mostly pass rushes in Detroit’s scheme—but his path to development was cut short due to his injury.
The Lions have struggled to find a pass rushing option opposite Aidan Hutchinson this season, but have unlocked some potential of late with unique blitzes designed by defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. Now, with Houston potentially returning to the mix in the near future, the Lions pass rushing options will only increase.
“I feel like I’m an extremely explosive player. I like to say I’m a game-changer,” Houston said earlier this month. “So I feel like that’s what I could help with, especially in the pass rushes, sacks, forced fumbles. All types of things.”
Houston’s 21-day evaluation window officially begins on Thursday, but if the Lions feel he is ready to contribute on game days, they now have the option to activate him to the 53-man roster at any time.