Detroit Lions edge defender James Houston returned to practice last week, but according to the latest update from coach Dan Campbell, the pass rusher isn’t expected to play in the regular season finale against the Minnesota Vikings.
“I don’t see Houston (playing) right now,” Campbell said on 97.1 The Ticket Tuesday morning.
Houston fractured his ankle in the team’s Week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks and has been sidelined ever since. The Lions started his evaluation clock last Thursday, getting one practice in before Detroit’s game against the Cowboys last Saturday. That gives the Lions two weeks to decide if they want to activate him from injured reserve or not.
Last year, Houston came on out of nowhere in the last couple months of the season, providing a huge boost to Detroit’s pass rush. In just seven games played, he tallied 8.0 sacks.
Not having Houston ready for the season finale is a bit of a disappointment. As Houston said last week, he’s a young player that would really benefit from more playing time.
“Experience has always been what I’ve been lacking a little bit,” Houston said. “I haven’t played much football. Even in high school, I played like one year of high school. In college, I didn’t play much. And even in the league I played 10 games. It’s really just experience, seeing different formations, seeing how stuff feels, understanding how I fit into different defenses and how I can make plays in different defenses. Just different stuff like that.”
That said, it appears Houston could be on track to return for the Lions’ home playoff game in the Wild Card round. He’ll obviously have to knock some rust off on the fly, but his unique pass rushing skills could still provide some big-play potential to Detroit’s defense.