Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell provided two key injury updates on the team’s offensive line.
Most concerning is the status of starting right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who was placed on injured reserve in the lead-up to the team’s Week 1 game against the Philadelphia Eagles after suffering a back injury in the preseason finale. According to Campbell, Vaitai had back surgery in Texas on Monday.
“He will certainly be out for a little while here,” Campbell said. “But we’re not ruling out that he’s (not) done for the season.”
Campbell said the team was not prepared to call this a season-ending injury, but obviously, it looks like Vaitai may miss more than just the minimum four games after being placed on IR.
That likely means the Lions will continue to rely on Logan Stenberg, who struggled early against the Eagles. In the first half, he had back-to-back false starts and allowed a pressure that led to Jared Goff’s pick-six in the second quarter. However, Campbell believes Stenberg calmed down as the game continued and had more good than bad.
“Overall it was a positive showing by Stenberg,” Campbell said. “Inside of the positive showing was ups and downs, alight. But overall, I thought there was more good than there was not-so-good. So it’s definitely something to build off of.”
The news is a little more mixed for Lions center Frank Ragnow. Last Wednesday, Ragnow suffered a groin injury in practice but recovered enough during the week to play every snap against the Eagles on Sunday. This week, Ragnow will miss the first practice of the week with some soreness.
“Frank’s a little sore,” Campbell said. “He won’t practice today. So we’re just going to monitor him and see how he feels. It is. It’s kind of a day-to-day and we’ll see where we go with it.”
It’s unclear if Ragnow’s injury could hold him out this week against the Washington Commanders, as Campbell called him “day-to-day.” If he can’t go, Evan Brown would get the start. Brown played quite well as the team’s backup last year, starting 13 games after Ragnow’s foot injury.
UPDATE: To make matters even worse, left tackle Taylor Decker was not practicing on Wednesday. While this quite possible was a veteran day for Decker, he was wearing a compression sleeve on his lower left leg.