Allen Park — It’s still too early to say definitively, but the Detroit Lions are hopeful to get back offensive tackle Taylor Decker and wide receiver Tyrell Williams this week, ahead of the team’s Week 6 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Lions coach Dan Campbell confirmed Monday that Decker is expected to test out his surgically repaired finger during Wednesday’s practice to determine whether he’ll be able to play this weekend.
Decker suffered the injury during the week of practice ahead of the season opener while throwing a punch into a defender’s chest in pass protection. He had surgery shortly after and was in a hard cast for a few weeks before transitioning to a brace.
With Decker out, rookie Penei Sewell has filled in at left tackle for the Lions. Campbell said while a decision hasn’t been finalized, the plan remains for Decker to return to his left tackle spot, with Sewell shifting back to the right side.
“That’s tentatively the way we’re talking about going. We’ll have a meeting this afternoon and really dive into all that stuff,” Campbell said. “That’s where I think we’d lean, certainty.”
Sewell, who was battling an ankle injury during Sunday’s game against Minnesota, gave up a pair of sacks to veteran defensive end Everson Griffen, with the second resulting in quarterback Jared Goff fumbling. The rookie also was beat the previous week for a strip sack by Chicago’s Robert Quinn.
“I go back to every one of these looks he gets, he’s going to be better for it,” Campbell said. “Now, he’s gotta be able to adjust a lot faster than he did that game. It took him a while and then he thought he had (Griffen) and he got beat. I do think we have to do some things to help him, just a little bit, to get him going again. I do think he’ll learn.
“Look, I could tell last week, I knew he wanted to play just because he wanted redemption,” Campbell continued. “That’s the way he’s built and I love that about him. He was mad, and I know he’ll be mad about this. If you talk about giving him help, he’ll be pissed off about that, like, ‘I don’t need help.’ But I do think we need to just settle him back in. We’ll get him going here, but I love the way he’s built and he’ll be better for it.”
As for Williams, his status is a little more up in the air. He’s been on injured reserve since suffering a concussion in the season-opening loss to San Francisco. Campbell said the receiver will undergo an evaluation Tuesday that will provide the team more clarity.
Also on the injury front, the Lions are expecting to have defensive lineman Kevin Strong back this week. He’s been out with a thigh injury. Da’Shawn Hand, who has been working his way back from a groin injury since training camp, is still not ready to return.
“We know Strong is back, but I would say Hand is probably a little further away right now,” Campbell said.