Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell provided some injury updates during his Monday press conference, noting that there were really three main injuries suffered against the Seattle Seahawks: a fibula injury to James Houston, a knee injury to guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai and a thigh injury to running back David Montgomery.
Campbell essentially confirmed the report that Houston suffered a broken ankle, calling it a “fibula” injury. Per NFL Network, Houston is expected to miss six to eight weeks while he explores options that may include surgery.
As for Vaitai, Campbell suggested the Lions’ starting right guard will miss some time.
“Big V could be out for a little bit, we’ll know a lot more really in the next couple of days here,” Campbell said.
The good news is that when asked if Vaitai would be placed on injured reserve—meaning Vaitai would miss at least four weeks—Campbell seemed optimistic that the veteran offensive lineman would avoid it.
“I don’t think so. I don’t think so, but we’re just going to have to see how it responds,” Campbell said.
The most optimistic update from Campbell was on Montgomery.
“He’s kind of a little bit in the boat of day-to-day,” Campbell said.
That’s an upgrade from Montgomery himself, who speculated in the locker room after the game that he could miss a couple of weeks, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
That said, Campbell noted just how important Montgomery is to the team.
“Take away the fumble, and, golly, I thought he played outstanding,” Campbell said. “He is such a versatile back. He’s explosive. You talk about being reliable? He’s very reliable. But it’s just that fumble leaves a bad taste in your mouth, which we’ll get cleaned up. He will, too. He takes that stuff personal. But he’s been big for us. He’s a big piece of what we are and what we have offensively. He really is.”
As for what the Lions will do if Montgomery misses time, Campbell said they would rely more on rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs, but it will remain a running back by committee in Detroit.
“I still see it being by committee if D-Mo can’t go, but certainly Gibbs is going to get more opportunities,” Campbell said. “He got a little bit more (on Sunday) and there’s some plays he made, and there’s a lot he left out. Some of that is part of being a rookie. He’ll get better from those the more exposure he gets. We need him to grow and he will.”
Finally, Campbell gave a bit of a vague update on left tackle Taylor Decker, who missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury.
“He’s improving, but there again we’ll know a lot more over the next couple of days,” Campbell said. “He’s gotten better and better every day. It’s just a matter of can he get back in time for this one, and then we’re going into a short week after that in Green Bay.”
Sunday was the Lions’ first regular season game at Ford Field, where new turf was installed this offseason. The Lions made the transition from slit-film turf—which the NFLPA called out specifically as unsafe—to a CORE monofilament turf.
When asked if the turf could have played a factor in the Lions’ injury situation this week, Campbell brushed it off.
“I don’t believe that,” Campbell said. “You guys know injuries. You can go and everything is good and you get out pretty healthy, and then all of sudden, man, they come on and you get the bug and we just got a rash of them yesterday. So that’s kind of the ebbs and flows of the season.”