Detroit Lions offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (foot) and wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hamstring) both sat out Thursday’s practice, one day after the pair showed up as limited on the team’s injury report with new injuries. That news casts doubt on both players’ availability for Sunday’s season-opener against Chicago.
Additionally, rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah also showed up on Thursday’s injury report, also with a hamstring injury. The Lions currently have five players battling through hamstring issues.
Even with Detroit’s depth at receiver, replacing Golladay, who led the NFL in touchdown catches a year ago, won’t be easy. Slot receiver Danny Amendola has also been limited with a hamstring strain the past two days, meaning the Lions could be forced to lean more heavily on training camp standouts Marvin Hall and Jamal Agnew, as well as rookie Quintez Cephus.
Vaitai, the team’s priciest addition in free agency this offseason, has been a relatively durable player during his four-year career. He hasn’t missed a game since a knee injury knocked him out for a stretch during the second half of his rookie season in 2016.
In training camp, Vaitai twice exited practice early, but was back on the field the following day. Patricia indicated the second instance had been related to the heat.
If Vaitai proves unable to go against the Bears, the Lions would turn to Tyrell Crosby, a third-year player who has started seven games in his career, including five last season.
Beyond Golladay, Vaitai and Okudah, Detroit’s practice participation remained unchanged from a day earlier. Tight end Hunter Bryant (hamstring) and safety C.J. Moore did not practice, while defensive tackle Da’Shawn Hand (groin), defensive end Julian Okwara (knee), cornerback Darryl Roberts (groin) and running back D’Andre Swift (hip) were limited.
The Bears have their own injury issues, with edge rusher Robert Quinn sitting out Wednesday due to an ankle injury. Additionally, superstar linebacker Khalil Mack was limited by a knee issue.