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Detroit Lions injury updates: Latest on Frank Ragnow, Alim McNeill, Alex Anzalone

The Detroit Lions offered positive injury updates on Frank Ragnow and Alex Anzalone. But it’s not as good news for defensive tackle Alim McNeill.

Detroit Lions v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell took the podium on Monday and offered the latest injury news after their win over the New Orleans Saints.

Frank Ragnow

Right off the bat, he offered an optimistic update on center Frank Ragnow, who left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury.

“I feel like more than anything, we got good news,” Campbell said. “But that doesn’t mean that he’s going to be available this week.”

It doesn’t take much to read between the lines, particularly when paired with Campbell's comments directly after the game. Then, he said while there was initial concern for a more serious injury, things looked more optimistic later in the game. This seems like further confirmation that Ragnow avoided a major injury, but Campbell also didn’t shy away from the fact that the center will likely miss this week’s game.

Ragnow is obviously a key piece to their offense line as the literal centerpiece. A two-time Pro Bowler and a second-team All-Pro back in 2020, Ragnow has been one of the better centers in the league again this year.

But Detroit does have a solid backup in Graham Glasgow, who has been the team’s starting right guard for most of the season. Campbell preached confidence in the veteran lineman again on Monday,

“That’s exactly why we got him,” Campbell said. “You don’t want it for this moment, but it also is for this moment. Even to be able to make the move yesterday—he’s banging away at right guard—and then at the drop of the hat he has to go play center, and really played well at center yesterday. Man, it’s valuable to be able to have him here, because we do have a lot of confidence in him playing center.”

If Ragnow does miss time and Glasgow moves to center, expect rookie Colby Sorsdal to continue to fill in at right guard.

Alex Anzalone

Campbell offered even more good news on Monday, noting that after missing the Saints game, linebacker Alex Anzalone has a chance at returning for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

“I think there’s a chance (he plays). Yeah. I do,” Campbell said.

Anzalone is in the midst of his best career year, tallying 87 tackles, five tackles for loss, nine QB hits, and five passes defended in his 11 starts so far this year. However, Campbell was impressed with how the linebacker group responded without him against the Saints.

“I thought the linebacker room played at a high level,” Campbell said. “I thought that group as a whole played really well for us. The whole, they played winning football. (Derrick) Barnes was all over the field. Played fast, physical. I thought it was one of the best games Jack (Campbell) has played. Played well in space.”

Alim McNeill

The one troubling injury news appears to be that of defensive tackle Alim McNeill. The third-year defensive tackle had to leave the game on a couple of occasions Sunday, and Campbell said there’s a chance he won’t play this week.

“Mac’s a little banged up,” Campbell said. “We’ll know more on him probably in I would say a couple of days. So, there’s a chance he may not be up (this week) either.”

McNeill is also in the midst of one of his best seasons. Quite possibly the only player capable of an interior pass rush on the team, McNeill currently ranks sixth among all NFL interior defenders in PFF grade (88.1), as he excels both as a run defender (77.9 grade) and pass rusher (76.8).

Most importantly, McNeill plays a massive amount of snaps each game. He’s been averaging 69 percent of the defensive snaps per game, so replacing him won’t be easy. If McNeill can’t go, expect the Lions to potentially give more of an opportunity to Levi Onwuzurike or quite possibly Isaiah Buggs, both of whom have been regular game-day inactives.

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