The Detroit Lions continue to be the bearers of bad news. As the team prepares for their Week 15 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals, the Lions placed another defensive back on the reserve/COVID-19 list and are sending another Pro Bowler to injured reserve.
Let’s take a look at the Lions’ official injury report for Thursday, noting that the new injuries, changes in status, and new reserve/COVID-19 additions are bolded.
For the third time in 18 months, Elliott has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He is the seventh defensive back on the current list, leaving the Lions secondary relying on practice squaders and newly signed players to fill key roles.
There were some new changes to the NFL COVID-19 protocols today, suggesting players who meet the new standards could return sooner than expected:
Most notable from a competitive perspective: There are now more ways for fully vaccinated players and staff to “test out” of COVID protocols and return from quarantine in less than 10 days. It’s very technical but should mean more players and coaches returning sooner. pic.twitter.com/vAKqZjeRQb
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 16, 2021
We don’t know the vaccination statuses of the players on the reserve/COVID list at this time, so we will have to see how this impacts the Lions situation.
Injured reserve updates
- TE T.J. Hockenson (thumb) is reportedly headed for injured reserve after surgery
- DL Jashon Cornell (non-football illness) Day 9 of 21 day evaluation period
- NB AJ Parker (ankle) Day 2 of 21 day evaluation period
After telling the media he was optimistic he might be able to play last week, Hockenson’s thumb had other ideas.
“Lions’ Pro Bowl TE T.J. Hockenson underwent thumb surgery this morning with the renowned hand-specialist Dr. Thomas Graham, and is expected to make a complete recovery in time for the off-season program, sources tell ESPN,” Adam Schefter tweeted on Thursday. “But Hockenson’s 2021 is over.”
Parker is expected to be activated ahead of this weekend’s game but don’t expect that move to happen before Saturday.
- TE T.J. Hockenson (hand) — until he is placed on IR, he will show up here still
- RB D’Andre Swift (shoulder)
- LG Jonah Jackson (back)
- OT Will Holden (not injury related)
- EDGE Julian Okwara (ankle)
Swift continues to miss practices and at this point in his recovery, it’s fair to speculate that if he doesn’t get better soon, he could also be shut down with a focus on getting healthy for the offseason.
Jackson didn’t appear to be injured in last week’s game, making it unclear if he was just getting Wednesday’s practice off for rest, but after also missing Thursday, his status for Sunday suddenly seems in doubt. If he can’t play, look for Tommy Kraemer to get the start in his place at left guard.
Holden has also missed the last two practices, and while a non-injury label is typically encouraging, as we saw with Elliott, he’s not in the clear just yet.
Okwara has now missed five practices in a row, and the Lions have felt his absence on the edge. He’s not ruled out just yet, but there have been no indicators he is ready to return yet either.
- WR Josh Reynolds (thigh) — added to the injury report on Thursday
- DL Michael Brockers (knee)
- LB Alex Anzalone (ankle) – upgraded to limited practice
- LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (shoulder) — practicing in a red non-contact jersey
Reynolds was a new addition to the injury report on Thursday, suggesting something popped up after yesterday, or he injured himself in practice today. Neither are ideal scenarios, as mid-week injuries tend to be problematic. If he can’t practice tomorrow, chances are he won’t play on Sunday.
Anzalone left last Sunday’s game and was unable to return, and as has become customary, he sat out Wednesday’s practice. Fortunately, he was able to return to practice on Thursday, an encouraging development for his chances of playing on Sunday.
Brockers has been limited in recent weeks, but come game day, he has been able to play through his injury.
Reves-Maybin getting in work is a step in the right direction, but his red non-contact jersey suggests he may not be fully ready for game action.
- RT Penei Sewell (shoulder) — upgraded to full practice
- EDGE Austin Bryant (shoulder) — upgraded to full practice
- LB Derrick Barnes (knee) — upgraded to full practice
Sewell has been spectacular despite his injuries, so an upgrade to full practice is a great sign.
Bryant has been able to get in limited practices for two weeks now, but his upgrade to a full practice is an encouraging sign he may be able to see the field more than he did last week. The Lions would use him back in the starting lineup.
Barnes saw limited work yesterday, but an upgrade today could end up being very helpful this weekend. With Anzalone and Reeves-Maybin still working through issues, it would be nice to have Barnes available.