Taylor Decker practiced Wednesday for the first time since he injured his left hand in a pass-rush drill five weeks ago, but Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell said there is no guarantee the left tackle will be on the field for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“We’ll just see where Decker goes and how he feels and just take it from there,” Campbell said. “But at least we can start working with him, on the field, true football.”
Decker went through the individual portion of practice Wednesday with a sizable cast on his left hand.
He remains on injured reserve for now, but is expected to return to the starting lineup well before his three-week practice window expires.
The Lions have played rookie Penei Sewell at left tackle and Matt Nelson at right tackle in Decker’s absence, but are planning to move Sewell back to the right side once Decker is ready to return.
“To be able to get him back, I mean, it would be good —- certainly, it’d be good,” Campbell said. “Matt Nelson has gone in there and done a nice job, so we’re prepared to move either way. If it’s Nelson for another week at right tackle while Decker’s still getting his feet under him and getting everything right and the feel of it, we’re good with that. We’ll be ready. And so will Nelson.”
Defensive tackle Kevin Strong (concussion) also returned to practice from injured reserve Wednesday, but the Lions were without four key players because of injuries.
Tight end T.J. Hockenson (knee), defensive end Trey Flowers (knee), cornerback Amani Oruwariye (hip) and return man Corey Ballentine (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday.
Guard Jonah Jackson (shoulder) and running backs D’Andre Swift (groin) and Jamaal Williams were limited.