Allen Park — The Detroit Lions will be without Taylor Decker for at least the first three games of the regular season. The team placed the veteran left tackle on injured reserve ahead of Sunday’s season opener after he underwent surgery on his injured finger.
Coach Dan Campbell had hinted at the possibility at the end of the week, noting the injury appeared to be trending toward requiring surgery.
“We’ll know for sure this afternoon, but I mean I think that it’s probably leaning that way,” Campbell said Friday morning.
Decker suffered his injury during Wednesday’s practice, punching his hand into a defender’s chest while in pass protection.
Left with just seven active offensive linemen following Decker’s injury, the Lions promoted undrafted rookie Tommy Kraemer off the practice squad, while also temporarily elevating veteran offensive tackle Will Holden off the unit.
Since being drafted by the Lions in 2016, Decker largely has been durable. He’s started 55 of the team’s past 56 games after an offseason shoulder injury kept him out of action the first eight games of the 2017 campaign.
He was the only player on the roster to play every offensive or defensive snap in 2020.
With Decker out, the Lions are expected to shift first-round draft pick Penei Sewell to left tackle, while plugging in backup Matt Nelson on the right side. Campbell also suggested the team weighed going with Nelson at left tackle or moving guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai to one of the tackle spots and starting last year’s fourth-round pick Logan Stenberg at guard.
Kraemer, undrafted out of Notre Dame, played 131 snaps during the team’s three preseason games, splitting time between right and left guard. After the preseason finale, Campbell highlighted Kraemer as one of the players whose performance stood out.
Holden, a fifth-round draft pick in 2017, joined the Lions earlier in the week. This marks the ninth team he’s been with during his young career. He’s appeared in 13 games, including three last season, registering 474 total offensive snaps at left tackle, right tackle and left guard.
To backfill the practice squad opening created by Kraemer’s promotion, the Lions have re-signed receiver Javon McKinley. He had been released earlier in the week to add Holden.