There had been hope Lions center Frank Ragnow would only miss a few games, but he will have season-ending toe surgery instead.
Week 4 against the Chicago Bears saw two significant Detroit Lions players suffer injuries. Edge rusher Romeo Okwara is out for the season with a torn Achilles. Center Frank Ragnow was placed on IR with turf toe last week, but it seemed likely he would return at some point this season. Not so fast.
According to multiple reporters, including ESPN’s Eric Woodyard, Ragnow will have surgery on his injured toe and miss the rest of the season.
The Lions took Ragnow in the first round (20th overall) of the 2018 draft, and he has been a mainstay on the offensive line since. He played guard as a rookie, then moved to center in 2019 and earned a Pro Bowl nod last year. The Lions rewarded him with a four-year contract extension that made him the highest-paid center in the NFL back in May.
Frank Ragnow is most irreplaceable on long list of injured Lions
As Justin Rogers of The Detroit News reminded, Ragnow missed just two games last year with fractured cartilage in his throat. He had missed just three games in his career up until Week 5. Through the time of his toe injury, Pro Football Focus had graded him out as the second-best center in the league.
Evan Brown stepped in to replace Ragnow in Week 4, and he started at center in Week 5. There’s no replacing one of the best centers in the league, but Brown will try and he has the backing of head coach Dan Campbell.
More broadly, Ragnow is the just the latest on a long list of injured Lions. Left tackle Taylor Decker (finger) and wide receiver Tyrell Williams (concussion) may be ready to come off IR this week. But wide receiver Quintez Cephus (collarbone) and cornerbacks Jeff Okudah (Achilles) and Ifeatu Melifonwu (thigh) are also on IR. Cephus is all but surely done for the year, and Okudah is indeed done for the season.