clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Lions rookie QB Hendon Hooker throwing routes for 1st time since injury

Detroit Lions third-round rookie quarterback Hendon Hooker took a big step in his rehab from a torn ACL by throwing on air for the first time.

NFLPA Rookie Premiere Portrait Session Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

After the Detroit Lions cleared the field following Tuesday’s opening pracitce of mandatory minicamp, a significant milestone was being made. Rookie quarterback Hendon Hooker, the team’s third-round pick, took the field and started throwing passes to teammates running routes. It’s a significant step in Hooker’s rehabilitation from a torn ACL suffered in November.

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press caught up with Hooker after practice, who told him that his progress is “way ahead of schedule.”

“I felt pretty good,” Hooker said of his throwing session Tuesday. “Missed one ball to end it out, but it felt good. I felt I put the ball where I wanted to. As soon as my feet can match my thought process then (it will be even better). Really, they’re just not moving as fast I want them to.”

The timeline for Hooker’s recovery remains a bit of mystery, though. Previously, coach Dan Campbell has called 2023 a “redshirt” season for the former Tennessee quarterback. And it doesn’t exactly sound like Hooker expects to be ready to go when training camp comes around.

“That’s very fast,” Hooker told Birkett. “Especially since other guys with the same injury, they’re nine months (before they return).”

Training camp will be right around that nine month mark for him, so we’ll see. In the meantime, Hooker is trying to consume everything he can from mental reps and listening on the sidelines via a walkie talkie.

“I’m continuing to work my tail off, day-to-day, mental reps, taking reps behind the quarterbacks that are in, and just playing the game in my mind until I can actually get out there,” Hooker said back in May. “I’m still preparing and I’m hungry. I’m ready to compete.”

And he’s already made an impression with starter Jared Goff

“He’s a great kid and is learning quickly and has been fun to have in the room, and yeah, he has been awesome,” Goff said.

No matter how quick his physical recovery, the future of what Hooker will be to this team is unclear. Is he a backup? Is he a potential franchise quarterback? The Lions are simply playing the wait and see game.

“If he can eventually become your (No.) 2, or maybe down the road, later on, it’s more than that,” Campbell said back May. “But it’s going to be a long time.”

Subscribe to PODD

After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.