Detroit Lions place Danny Shelton, Desmond Trufant on injured reserve

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
| Detroit Free Press

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The Detroit Lions lost two of their defensive starters — and biggest free agent additions — potentially for the rest of the season.

The Lions placed defensive tackle Danny Shelton (knee) and cornerback Desmond Trufant (hamstring) on injured reserve Wednesday.

Both were injured in last week’s loss to the Houston Texans, and both must now miss a minimum of three games.

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The Lions (4-7) have just five games remaining, including Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

Shelton and Trufant were two of the Lions’ most significant signings this offseason, though neither has had the defensive impact the Lions hoped.

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Shelton has 22 tackles and one sack in 11 games, but the Lions rank 28th against the rush at 133.4 yards allowed per game.

Trufant was supposed to replace Darius Slay as the Lions’ No. 1 cornerback, but instead has battled hamstring injuries all season. He pulled his hamstring in a Week 1 loss to the Bears, missed two games, the re-aggravated the injury upon his return in a Week 4 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Trufant has finished just three of the six games he’s started this season, against the Minnesota Vikings, Washington and the Carolina Panthers.

His latest injury leaves the Lions extremely shorthanded in the secondary. Rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah is not practicing Wednesday, interim Lions coach Darrell Bevell said, because of a shoulder injury that kept him out of the Texans game, though the Lions did activate veteran cornerback Darryl Roberts for a return to practice from injured reserve.

“We’re continuing to work with the roster each and every day, communicating with (new top personnel executives) Mike Disner and Kyle (O’Brien) and Rob (Lohman) and Lance (Newmark) and making sure we do a good job of staying on top of that,” Bevell said. “We do have other guys that will continue to work with the roster and by the end of the week, we’ll feel comfortable with what we have out there.”

Among a slew of other moves Wednesday, the Lions returned defensive end Julian Okwara to practice from IR, activated tight end Hunter Bryant to their 53-man roster from injured reserve, signed defensive tackle Kevin Strong off the practice squad and added cornerback Alex Myres to the practice squad.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. 

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