Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow will miss the rest of the 2021 season after opting to undergo toe surgery, a source familiar with his decision told the Free Press on Tuesday.
Ragnow made the decision after visiting Dr. Robert Anderson on Monday. He is expected to undergo the procedure this week.
Ragnow suffered a turf toe-type injury in the Lions’ Week 4 loss to the Chicago Bears. He left the game after prematurely snapping a ball off Jared Goff’s leg and into the hands of a Bears defensive lineman.
By having surgery now, Ragnow should be fully healthy for the 2022 offseason.
The Lions (0-5) are one of two winless teams in the NFL along with the Jacksonville Jaguars and have dealt with a rash of injuries so far this year.
Left tackle Taylor Decker has not played this season because of a hand injury he suffered days before the Lions’ season opener, and Ragnow, who signed a four-year, $54 million extension this offseason that made him the game’s highest-paid center, missed last week’s loss to his hometown Minnesota Vikings.
Rookie Penei Sewell moved from right to left tackle in Decker’s absence, Matt Nelson has started all five games at right tackle this year, and Evan Brown is Ragnow’s replacement at center.
Sewell is expected to move back to right tackle when Decker returns, perhaps this week.
Along with injuries on their offensive line, the Lions have lost their top pass rusher (Romeo Okwara) and top cornerback (Jeff Okudah) to season-ending Achilles tendon tears, and No. 1 receiver Tyrell Williams has not played since Week 1 because of a brain injury.
Asked about the Lions’ rash of injuries in his weekly appearance on 97.1 WXYT-FM, Lions coach Dan Campbell said it was frustrating but “unfortunately, this is not he first time I’ve seen this or been a part of this as a player or coach.”
“Sometimes when these things hit, this is how it hits,” Campbell said. “It’s all about the next man up, and somebody else is going to get an opportunity and we’ve got to help them make the most of their opportunity and give them a chance to have success. It’s tough, but everybody in the league is dealing with this, and you do every year.”