You probably didn’t even notice it, but Detroit Lions left tackle Taylor Decker suffered an ankle injury early in Thursday’s season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. Because Decker didn’t miss a single offensive snap all night, it probably wasn’t on your radar at all. But after the game in the locker room, MLive reporter Kyle Meinke noted that Decker was in a protective boot.
While that could seem like a serious injury, it’s not all that uncommon for players to take extra precaution after a game, and a protective boot provides extra stability.
On Friday, coach Dan Campbell provided some extra context to Decker’s injury and seemed optimistic about the prognosis.
“Deck’s a tough SOB, man. To watch him battle out there, it was impressive. We’ll know a lot more in a few days, but I’m encouraged because I know, there again, he finished out that game.”
In the past five seasons, Decker has missed just nine total games—eight of which came in 2021, when he suffered a finger fracture in practice just days before Week 1. He’s the longest-tenured Lions player, a locker room leader, and one of the most consistent performers year in and year out.
If Decker misses any time, it would be a pretty significant blow to the Lions offensive line, which finally got its first game together in three years with all the projected starters in the lineup. The Lions have Matt Nelson as a reserve tackle, but also are capable of kicking either Halapoulivaati Vaitai or rookie Colby Sorsdal out from guard to tackle.
Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that, as the Lions—and Decker—have ample time to rest following the Thursday night game. Detroit’s next game—a home bout with the Seattle Seahawks—is still nine days away.
Campbell noted that the Lions had no other serious injuries they were dealing with. Rookie defensive back Brian Branch did leave the game with cramps, but he was able to return to play and finish out the contest.
“We’re pretty good everywhere else,” Campbell said.