The Detroit Lions (9-3) will take on the Chicago Bears (4-8) in Week 14 in their second meeting in four weeks. Both teams are relatively healthy, especially for this late in the season, but the Lions are still dealing with a few impactful injuries.
NOTE: Any changes from last week’s injury report will be bolded.
Injured reserve, Non-Football injury list
- QB Hendon Hooker (ACL): NFI — 21-day evaluation clock started
- RB Mohamed Ibrahim (hip): Practice squad IR — eligible to return at any time
- FB Jason Cabinda (knee): IR — eligible to return at any time
- OT Matt Nelson (ankle): IR — eligible to return at any time
- OG Halapoulivaati Vaitai (back): IR — eligible to return in Week 15
- 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 — eligible to return at any time
- LS Scott Daly (knee): IR — eligible to return at any time
Losing Alim McNeill to injured reserve is a big blow to the defense as he’s a player the Lions won’t have an easy job replacing.
“Losing Mac for these four weeks is going to be tough,” Campbell said. “He’s been a reliable, steady, productive player for us. He’s really come into his own this year. He’s just grown every year, but this year, he was big. He was a force for us. Guys got a lot of respect for him, so that hurts. But at the same token, this train moves on.”
The Lions' plan to replace McNeill is still a bit unclear, but coach Dan Campbell has suggested that the player who will get the primary opportunity will be the one who “prove(s) their worth.”
On a positive note, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, McNeill’s knee injury is only a knee sprain and he is expected to return to the active roster at the end of the season in time for the Lions’ potential playoff run.
While McNeill is just starting his stint on injured reserve, long snapper Scott Daly is now eligible to return. That being said, his status is a bit unknown at this time, and it’s unclear how far along he is in his recovery process.
One final note from Detroit Lions reporter Tim Twentyman, who spoke to James Houston in the locker room and uncovered some positive news:
Chatted with OLB James Houston today and he said he’s definitely expecting to be back before the playoffs. He said he’s excited and expects to make impact plays for the defense when he returns.— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) December 6, 2023
No practice on Wednesday
- C Frank Ragnow (toe/back/knee) — Knee is a NEW INJURY
Ragnow has been dealing with a toe injury for multiple seasons and has been taking scheduled rest days throughout the season to help with his pain management. While he has had a back injury that has crept up in recent weeks, it hasn’t limited him much, if at all. Unfortunately, his knee injury, which occurred against the Saints last Sunday, appears to be what is keeping him off the practice field on Wednesday.
“Yeah, look, I would say this, I feel like more than anything, we got good news, but that doesn’t mean that he’s going to be available this week,” Campbell said about Ragnow on Monday.
After Ragnow exited the Saints game, Graham Glasgow moved to center and rookie Colby Sorsdal entered the game at right guard. If Ragnow can’t go, that adjustment on the interior offensive line is expected to occur again, though Kayode Awosika and Dan Skipper will push Sorsdal for reps.
It’s worth noting that several beat reporters reported that Bruce Irvin was not present at practice on Wednesday, but because he is on the practice squad—and not the active roster—the Lions are not required to list his status on the injury report. Irvin injured his ankle on a pass rush but told reporters in the locker room on Wednesday that he expects to be practicing again on Thursday. That’s good news because Campbell suggested that the team plans on using more this week, indicating this may not be an overly impactful absence.
“Yeah, I mean I think we would like to work him in more,” Campbell said of Irvin. “And that was the plan last week. Was (to) give him some opportunities and then see where he’s at there, see how he handled it, see how his body is, and then potentially get him some more. So we’re looking into that. But yeah, I would say he’s earned that.”
Bruce Irvin has got a minor ankle sprain. Happened on his sack. He expects to return to practice tomorrow and play Sunday.— Justin Rogers | Detroit News (@Justin_Rogers) December 6, 2023
- LB Malcolm Rodriguez (ankle) — NEW INJURY
Rodriguez saw his playing time on defense rise last week with the injury to Anzalone. It’s unclear when he suffered this injury—be it during the game or during Wednesday’s practice—but we may know more later in the week how serious it is.
With the return of Alex Anzalone to practice, the Lions have some wiggle room with Rodriguez’s availability.
- QB Hendon Hooker (ACL) evaluation clock: 14 days remaining
- LB Alex Anzalone (hand) — Returned to practice
Lions LB Alex Anzalone back at practice Wednesday pic.twitter.com/C0LcTbD1qb— Colton Pouncy (@colton_pouncy) December 6, 2023
Hooker continues to remain on the NFI list and is starting his second of a possible three weeks in his evaluation. While he can be removed from the NFI and added to the active roster at any time, the expectations are that the team is in no rush to push him through the process, and he will likely use all 14 of his remaining days.
After missing last weekend’s game with a hand injury, Anzalone returned to practice on Wednesday and was practicing with a wrap on his left hand—which you can see in the video from The Athletic’s Colton Pouncy.
No longer on the injury report
- RB David Montgomery (foot)
- OL Jonah Jackson (ankle/wrist)
- S Tracy Walker (shoulder)
- S Ifeatu Melifonwu (hand)
Montgomery was dealing with a foot injury last week, but he started for the Lions against New Orleans and didn’t appear to be too limited by the injury. He should be good to go.
Jackson returned to his starting left guard position last weekend and played on every snap.
Walker started and played his typical snap allotment against the Saints, suggesting his shoulder was not an issue.
Melifonwu has been dealing with a hand injury for a few weeks now but he has been able to play with a club/cast on his hand. He has been mainly limited to special teams, though that may be more a result of his position on the depth chart as opposed to his injury.
Bears injury report
Here’s a look at the Bears' initial injury report (starters bolded):
- LB Noah Sewell (knee)
- OL Larry Borom (illness)
- RB D’Onta Foreman (ankle)
- DB Tyrique Stevenson (ankle)