Taylor Decker’s Detroit Lions season in doubt due to finger injury

Detroit Free Press

Already without their best offensive lineman for the remainder of the season, the Detroit Lions could be losing another.

Lions coach Dan Campbell said Wednesday there is a chance left tackle Taylor Decker could miss the rest of the season with the finger injury he suffered in September.

Decker was hurt four days before the Lions’ season opener on a pass block in practice and has not played this year. The Lions returned him to practice last week, but Decker still is experiencing discomfort in his hand.

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The Lions have until Nov. 3 to reinstate Decker to the 53-man roster or shut him down for the season.

“There’s a chance (we could shut him down),” Campbell said. “I mean, really we’ve only got another two-week window here on it since we started his clock so we’re going to have to figure something out within the next couple weeks on it, one way or another whether he’s on the roster, activated, ready to go or if not, we have to put him down for the rest of the season. It’ll come. I really, I don’t know where this is going to go short-term. I don’t. I really don’t right now. I mean, we’ll just have to see how he feels.”

Decker practiced on a limited basis last Wednesday, when he took part only in position drills, with a club on his left hand.

On Thursday, he took a smattering of team reps with a smaller protective covering on his hand, then sat out practice Friday.

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“Last week when we first started this thing, it looked like this microphone times two,” Campbell said, grabbing the microphone in front of him and flopping it in every direction. “So it just takes a minute to get used to, that’s first of all. That alone takes a minute. Well, then you do that, he kind of hit somebody and now it — well, it’s not like you just nick it, so when you nick it, the whole thing bends backwards and now the knuckle gets pissed off. So all right, let’s do this a little different and maybe we crop it down. So a little bit of it is just getting comfortable with what that’s going to feel like.”

Decker did not practice Wednesday, but Campbell said if he can “get comfortable with being a one-armed man,” he could play in Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams.

“Because that’s really what it becomes,” Campbell said. “You can use it to punch, but to be able to grab is going to be hard. And that’s what we got to figure out and he’s got to figure out.”

Rookie Penei Sewell has started all six games at left tackle for the Lions this fall, and swing tackle Matt Nelson has played every snap at right tackle.

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Campbell has said Sewell likely will move back to right tackle once Decker is able to return, but those plans could change if Decker misses the season.

Sewell, 21, played left tackle exclusively in college and projects as the Lions’ future left tackle.

Decker, 28, is in the first year of a four-year, $60 million extension he signed last year.

“For the most part it’s good to go,” Campbell said. “For the most part. Now, when you play left tackle, there’s a big part of this mentally, man. He needs to feel like he can use it the way he needs to use it and he’s comfortable with it because at the end of the day, man, if you don’t feel like you can function with it the way that you need to or you feel like you’re going to be — you’ll be a liability to us offensively, then that does us no good either.

“The last thing we want, we take him (to the game), he goes in and then it doesn’t feel right or something’s not going and now we used a roster spot for it. So we’re just, man, we’re taking it as it comes. We’ll go out today, see how he feels, see what it looks like and take it day to day. And like I said yesterday, until that time, Matt Nelson’s our right tackle and Sewell’s our left and they’re good enough to win with right now.”

Roster move

The Lions signed receiver Geronimo Allison from their practice squad to their active roster. Allison played 13 snaps in last week’s 34-11 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and was not targeted with a pass. The Lions had an open roster spot from placing return man Corey Ballentine on injured reserve last week.

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