Lions sign center to practice squad as Ragnow misses practice

Detroit News

Allen Park — The Detroit Lions can’t catch a break with the team’s offensive line. Days after losing guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai to a back injury, the team was down center Frank Ragnow for Thursday’s practice, casting doubt on the former Pro Bowler’s availability for Sunday’s season opener against Philadelphia.

Ragnow popped up on Wednesday’s injury report because of a groin injury, which limited his participation in the day’s session. The timing suggests the injury occurred during that practice.

With Ragnow banged up, the Lions added some insurance to the practice squad, signing Ross Pierschbacher. A fifth-round pick out of Alabama in 2019, he’s been active for eight games during his pro career, but logged just a single offensive snap.

At Alabama, Pierschbacher was a three-time All-SEC selection, earning the honors twice playing left guard before moving to center as a senior.

In addition to Ragnow, the Lions were missing two other players during Thursday’s practice — guard Tommy Kraemer (back) and defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike (back).

If Ragnow can’t play on Sunday, the Lions will turn to Evan Brown at center. He started 12 games in place of Ragnow last season after the starter suffered a season-ending toe injury.

It’s still unclear how the Lions will handle filling Vaitai’s void at right guard. The team is working through a number of scenarios in practice this week, including giving 2019 fourth-round pick Logan Stenberg his first career start or shifting Penei Sewell over from right tackle and starting Matt Nelson in his place.

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