Detroit Lions ‘highly unlikely’ to get players back sooner under new COVID-19 protocols

Detroit Free Press

As COVID-19 rages through the Detroit Lions, and the rest of the NFL, coach Dan Campbell was not optimistic Friday that he would get any of his stricken players back any sooner under the league’s new protocols.

The NFL on Thursday announced changes to its health and safety protocols designed to allow vaccinated players who test positive for the coronavirus to return to the field faster than the current 10-day waiting period.

“I think that’s highly unlikely for us for that to happen,” Campbell said Friday. “I know we felt, talking about it last night, that some of the things that have come into play won’t help us.

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“Now, who knows? Maye we get lucky. But I don’t think it bodes well for us right now.”

As of Thursday, 10 Lions players had tested positive for the virus in the previous 11 days. All of those players are fully vaccinated and most have been asymptomatic.

The 1-11-1 Lions host the 10-3 Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Ford Field.

Hockenson’s surgery goes well

Campbell verified tight end T.J. Hockenson had surgery Thursday on his thumb and is likely out for the rest of the season. ESPN first reported that Hockenson had surgery.

“He had surgery yesterday and fixed his hand,” Campbell said. “Obviously that will probably do him in right there. We’ll miss him. Everything went well, though.”

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Hockenson was inactive for Sunday’s road game against the Denver Broncos, even though he had expressed optimism last week that he would not miss time. Campbell confirmed the injury happened in the previous week’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

“Yeah, yeah, that was when it happened,” he said. “It was just kind of one of those things: What is the injury? Is it a bone bruise, is it a tear. It was kind of between both.

“It’s just a matter of how you feel about where it’s at and it’s a player’s preference. And so all good, man, had it fixed.”

Campbell didn’t say there was a setback but surgery was the result of Hockenson getting a second medical opinion.

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“We encourage these guys … get it assessed, you get a second opinion and then the player weighs the options,” he said. “And that’s what it comes down to.”

Contact Carlos Monarrez at and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

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