Detroit Lions C Frank Ragnow played through a fractured throat vs. Green Bay Packers

Detroit Free Press

Dave Birkett
 
| Detroit Free Press

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The injury does not even sound real. And the fact he played the entire game despite it is mind-boggling.

Detroit Lions center Frank Ragnow missed practice Wednesday with a fractured throat he suffered in last week’s loss to the Green Bay Packers.

NFL Network, which first reported the injury, said it occurred in the first quarter of the game.

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Ragnow played all 68 offensive snaps against the Packers, but his status for this week’s game against the Tennessee Titans — plus the Lions’ final two games — is uncertain.

The Lions have been in contact with three specialists to determine their next course of action with the injury. Ragnow’s airway is unobstructed and he is able to eat, a person familiar with the injury told the Free Press, but he is not supposed to talk or otherwise strain his throat.

A fractured throat bone is extremely rare, according to the Journal of Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery, and typically the product of trauma associated with strangulation.

Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Henry Anderson suffered a similar injury in 2017 that kept him out of seven games.

Anderson was hurt when he was hit in the front of his neck by a running back, and eventually required season-ending surgery.

Ragnow, in his third NFL season, has played at a Pro Bowl level this fall and along with Taylor Decker leads the Lions’ much-improved offensive line. He and Decker are the only two Lions to play every offensive snap this season.

“He’s grown as a player every way, as a player on the field, a player off the field, and he’s fun to coach and the biggest thing for him is being a leader, excelling that way,” offensive line coach Hank Fraley said earlier this month. “He’s coachable and he’s willing to be coached and he’s always trying to strive to be the best. I just enjoy the energy he brings every day on that field and he’s going to be a heck of a ball player for a long time in this league and he still hasn’t touched his ceiling.”

If Ragnow cannot play Sunday, either Joe Dahl or rookie Jonah Jackson would start at center.

The Lions played last week without starting right tackle Tyrell Crosby because of an ankle injury, and Crosby sat out practice Wednesday.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who has spent the past three weeks on injured reserve with a foot injury, returned to practice Wednesday and could be elevated to the 53-man roster this weekend.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett. 

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