Lions starting right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai left practice early on Monday, with an undisclosed issue that may not be clear for a couple days.
After not playing a snap together last season, the Detroit Lions had their starting offensive line together for last Friday night’s preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons, and they were as dominant as they would be expected to be. But on Monday, something not-so great came.
According to Kyle Meinke of MLive, right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai left Monday’s practice very early. It’s not clear what the issue was, as (per Meinke) no reporters saw “Big V” leave the field.
Head coach Dan Campbell did not meet with reporters after practice. With no practice Tuesday, the next indication of what’s wrong with Vaitai may not come until the Lions take the field for joint practices against the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday.
Before Monday’s practice, Campbell cast some doubt on the status of fullback Jason Cabinda (ankle, PUP list) and defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike (back) for Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 11.
Cabinda has yet to practice in camp, and he looks like a virtual lock to stay on the PUP list into the season.
The options are fewer with second-year man Onwuzurike. Since he was injured during training camp, the Lions can’t put him on the PUP list. So it’s either carry him on the 53-man roster, with his status for at least Week 1 in doubt (right now, anyway), or put him on IR. The timing of an IR placement would be telling about the severity of his injury, as noted by Erik Schlitt of Pride of Detroit.
If they place him on IR ahead of final cutdowns, Onwuzurike would miss the entire 2022 season, but if they wait until after the 53-man roster is established, then place him on IR, he would only be required to miss the first four weeks of the season.
Not all bad injury news for Detroit Lions on Monday
Nearly two weeks ago, Aug. 2, Lions wide receiver Quintez Cephus suffered a left leg injury that seemed serious in the moment while making an acrobatic catch against cornerback Jeff Okudah. He apparently avoided a worst-case scenario, but remained out of practice last week and did not play against the Falcons.
On Monday, as he fights for a roster spot, Cephus was back at practice. So the Lions got a piece of good injury news before the work day was over.