Frank Ragnow returned to practice Friday, two days after suffering a groin injury, leading to optimism he will play in the Detroit Lions‘ season-opener Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I think we’ll know a lot post-practice,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “I think it’ll tell us a ton, but I know he wants to give it a go and he had a smile on his face this morning so I’d take that as at least a step in the right direction.”
Ragnow injured his groin in practice Wednesday and sat out Thursday’s workout, leaving the Lions fearful they could open the season without 2/5ths of their starting offensive line.
Right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai will miss at least the first four games of the season because of a back injury, and his top backup, Tommy Kraemer is not expected to play Sunday because of a back issue.
Campbell declined to name a replacement for Vaitai, but the Lions have used both backup guard Logan Stenberg and right tackle Penei Sewell at the position in practice this week. Kraemer has not practiced since late August.
“We have an idea where we want to go with it, but we’re prepared to move quickly if needed another way, I guess is the best way to say it,” Campbell said. “We have options.”
Campbell said he has not had a “not-us-again” moment with the Lions’ recent onslaught of injuries on their line. Last year, the Lions lost starting left tackle Taylor Decker to a finger injury days before their season opener and played most of the season without Ragnow after he suffered a foot injury in early October.
“It’s not that that thought doesn’t fly in there quickly, but it goes away,” Campbell said. “I think that it really is about how you adjust. Because look, that’s the hand you’re dealt so you better make the most of it. And at the end of the day, nobody cares. Nobody cares, and you lose you’re going to be scrutinized and you’ve got to find a way to win with what you’ve got.
“But yeah, hey look man, if Frank’s able to go, then hey man, maybe the tides are turning here a little bit. And if not, Evan banked a lot of reps for us last year and did a heck of a job for us, so shoot, I got a lot of confidence in him, too.”
The Lions signed kicker Dominik Eberle to their practice squad Friday and placed kicker Aldrick Rosas on practice squad injured reserve. Eberle made 2 of 3 field goals with a long of 51 yards in his only NFL game for the Houston Texans last season.