The Detroit Lions released their first injury report of the 2022 season on Wednesday, and with two former third-round picks returning to practice, the team is dealing with injuries on the offensive line as it explores creative replacement options.
Before we get into the injuries, let’s start with where the team stands with their bench players and when they will return to action.
RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai (back): injured reserve, eligible to return in Week 5 WR Jameson Williams (ACL): NFI, eligible to return in Week 5 FB Jason Cabinda (ankle): PUP, eligible to return in Week 5 EDGE Romeo Okwara ( .) eligible to return Achilles): PUP, eligible to return in Week 5 EDGE Josh Paschal (sports hernia): PUP, eligible to return in Week 5 CB Jerry Jacobs (ACL): PUP, eligible to return in Week 5
Williams, Cabinda, Okwara, Pascal and Jacobs have been placed on their respective reserve lists in training camp and will miss at least the first four weeks, with some players not expected to return until midseason.
Vaitai was placed on injured reserve on Monday, but still falls under the same time frame as the rest of the reserve players because he was placed there earlier than Week 1.
“Yeah, it was his back, and it was something that I think bothered him in Pittsburgh, and once we looked at it, it was something that we felt like we needed to sit him out,” coach Dan Campbell said of Vaitai on Wednesday. . “So we know he’s out for at least four (games) and we’ll take it week by week and see how he does.”
Campbell said the Lions are exploring several options on how to fill the vacated starting right guard role, but one of those options may be in jeopardy because backup inside linebacker Tommy Kramer missed practice on Wednesday.
There is no practice
IOL Tommy Kramer (back) DL Levi Onwuzurike (back) EDGE John Kominski (illness)
“What I love about Tommy is you know exactly what you’re going to get,” Campbell said. “We know exactly who the player is, what he is, he’s a consistent player, and he’s grown in the spring and training camp. And so, he uses more of what he has. He’s very believable, and he’s smart.”
Kramer has been consistently rotated as the second-team right guard in training camp, receiving quick tryouts at guard, center and tackle. Starting at three guard in 2021, he seems like a natural replacement option for Vaitai, but now it looks like the Lions will have to look in a different direction.
Taylor Decker said the Lions tried “a million” (not literally, but apparently) different combinations on the offensive line today and it could take until the weekend to figure out what works best.
— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) September 7, 2022
Onwuzurike has been sidelined for several weeks after re-aggravating his back in training camp. The latest update on the situation came last week when Campbell said things were moving slowly and there was no chance he would be back in time for Week 1.
“It’s going in the right direction but at a snail’s pace is the best way to say it,” Campbell said. “He’s doing everything we’re asking him to do, he’s getting better, but I don’t know. I’ll say this, if you’re asking me now, you’re twisting my arm, saying I’m not available for Philly, I am, but we’ll see.”
Kominski took advantage of the opportunity to earn a roster spot in camp — with Romeo Okwara and Pascal on reserve/PUP — and slotted into a backup role against Aidan Hutchinson. It will not be long before I am ill.
C Frank Ragno (hamstring) EDGE Julian Okwara (hamstring) LB Chris Board (knee) S Ifeatu Melifonwu (hip) K Austin Seibert (right groin)
To further complicate matters on the offensive line, starting All-Pro center Frank Ragano is dealing with a groin injury. It’s unclear at this point how limited Ragnow is with the injury, but it’s never good to see the team’s best player on the injury report this early in the year, especially with groin injuries that could linger. Evan Brown, who started 12 games under center for the Lions last year, will replace Ragno if needed.
Julian Okwara returned to practice last week, and while Kominski’s status is up in the air, he may not have time to return to game status as the Lions may need depth in the pass rush.
Melifonu was able to return to the practice field Wednesday after being out of practice for about a month, and safeties coach Brian Duker said he was encouraged by his ability to jump into the mix.
“Everything I’ve seen in the meeting room makes me feel better because I know where he’s at in his mind,” Duker said.
Melifon moved from cornerback to safety this offseason, initially in contention for the top backup role, putting him in a position where he missed a lot of time.
“Missing reps, obviously that slows down the transition[to safety]and makes it more difficult. But he was doing a great job before the injury. I expect him to pick up where he left off.”
Chris Bord is a new addition to the list. Although the board may not line up for time on defense — Alex Anzalone, Derek Barnes and rookie Malcolm Rodriguez are expected to lead the linebacker group — he’s a key player on the team’s special teams.
Finally, Seibert is dealing with a liver injury, which will have a big impact on his availability this Sunday. Last year, Seibert had surgery on a group of hamstrings and missed the last half of the season. If Seibert can’t go Sunday, the Lions signed Aldrick Rosas to their practice squad last week. Rosas appeared in one game for Detroit last year, making both hits; Extra point and a 44-yard field goal.
There are no injured players
Eagles injury report
Check out the Eagles’ first injury report.