Denver — The already shorthanded Detroit Lions lost two more players to the COVID-19 reserve list on Saturday, bringing the team’s total to six on the week.
Included in that group are four defensive backs, including Saturday’s additions, cornerbacks Ifeatu Melifonwu and Mark Gilbert. They joined safety Tracy Walker, cornerback Bobby Price, running back Jamaal Williams and center Evan Brown, who landed on the reserve list earlier this week.
Additionally, the Lions previously ruled out three players due to injury for Sunday’s game in Denver — running back D’Andre Swift, outside linebacker Julian Okwara and inside linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin — while listing Pro Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson, the team’s leading pass-catcher, as doubtful with a hand injury.
All this comes after the Lions waded through a flu outbreak within the roster this week. While the team took steps to mitigate the spread, the Lions still listed 12 players as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Broncos, including most of the starting defensive and offensive lines.
The team also placed practice squad linebacker Tavante Beckett on the COVID-19 reserve list.
To compensate for all the absences, the Lions temporarily elevated seven players off the practice squad list.
Cornerback Corey Ballentine, linebacker Curtis Bolton, defensive tackle Bruce Hector, running back Craig Reynolds, cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman, tight end Shane Zylstra and cornerback Parnell Motley have all been elevated for the game and will be eligible to play on Sunday.
Only Hector has played an offensive or defensive snap for the Lions this season from that group. Ballentine and Zylstra have previously played on special teams in 2021.