Detroit Lions place Halapoulivaati Vaitai on injured reserve, sign Mohamed Sanu

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
| Detroit Free Press

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If the Detroit Lions are going to make a playoff push the next few weeks, they will have to do so without one of their top free agent additions of the offseason.

The Lions placed offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai on injured reserve Wednesday because of a lingering foot injury.

Vaitai hurt his foot in training camp and has been in and out of the lineup this fall. He missed the first two games of the season, played right guard upon his return, was held out of the Lions’ Week 10 win over Washington, then did not play in the second half of last week’s loss to the Carolina Panthers.

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Asked about Vaitai’s reduced snaps and on-field struggles — he has allowed 4.5 sacks in seven games this season and has played primarily guard after signing to play right tackle — Lions coach Matt Patricia said injuries were a factor in the lineman’s play.

“Big V’s out there battling every day and I think he’s pushing through some things that have restricted him a little bit,” Patricia said. “He’s a tough guy. He just goes out and really tries to do everything he can to help the team. At that point, I’ll probably leave it at that as far as that’s concerned.”

Tyrell Crosby has started most of the season at right tackle for the Lions (4-6), and Oday Aboushi has filled in the last two weeks at right guard.

The Lions signed receiver Mohamed Sanu from the practice squad to the active roster to take Vaitai’s place.

Sanu made his Lions debut last week, and could see a bigger role Thursday against the Houston Texans with Kenny Golladay expected to miss his fourth straight game and Danny Amendola likely out for a second straight week with hip injuries.

The Lions also elevated cornerback Dee Virgin and defensive lineman Albert Huggins from practice squad to the gameday roster.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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