Detroit Lions place Julian Okwara on injured reserve; Austin Bryant returns to practice

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
| Detroit Free Press

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The Detroit Lions will be without one of their top draft picks indefinitely.

The Lions placed third-round pick Julian Okwara on injured reserve Tuesday, two days after he had to be helped off the field with a right leg injury.

Lions coach Matt Patricia declined to put a timetable on Okwara’s return or say whether his injury could be season-ending.

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“We’ll just kind of take it as it comes,” Patricia said. “It’ll be a couple weeks here, but we’ll see what it looks like.”

Okwara broke his left fibula last November and missed the end of his senior season at Notre Dame.

He played sparingly the first five weeks of this season and was a healthy inactive in a Week 2 loss to the Green Bay Packers, but flashed some of his pass rush ability with two pressures in five snaps Sunday against the Jaguars.

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The Lions re-signed cornerback Chris Jones to take Okwara’s place on the active roster, and returned defensive end Austin Bryant to practice from the physically unable to perform list.

Bryant, a fourth-round pick out of Clemson in 2019, played in four games as a rookie because of two separate injuries, but eventually could fill a role similar to what Okwara played early this season.

“I think we don’t look at the big picture, I think what we’re trying to do is just make sure we get a couple good reps here today for him and make sure we see what that looks like and give him some confidence and just kind of get back into the rhythm of things for him,” Patricia said. “Austin’s a phenomenal guy every single day. He studies, he learns, he listens, he works hard. I’m excited just to get him back on the field and let him get going and coach him and see where we’re at. But certainly haven’t done football stuff here in a long time, so we’ve just got to be patient with that, too, and make sure that we go through the process to get him back out there in the right manner.”

The Lions have three weeks to activate Bryant, who missed the start of last season after aggravating a pectoral injury he suffered in college, to their 53-man roster or place him on the season-ending PUP list.

The Lions also signed tackle Dan Skipper and tight end Matt Sokol to their practice squad, and released practice squad punter Arryn Siposs.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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