It will likely be confirmed by the team later on Monday, but the new injury update on Lions safety Tracy Walker has confirmed the worst-case scenario.
Lions safety Tracy Walker left Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings with what was originally reported as an ankle injury. But with his being carted off and how quickly he was ruled out for the game, it was certainly cause for concern he was dealing with a more severe injury.
After the game, head coach Dan Campbell said it didn’t look good for Walker, while noting the possibility of an Achilles’ injury.
It has not yet been confirmed by the Lions, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Walker is indeed believed to have suffered a torn Achilles and he would of course be out for the season if so.
UPDATE: Walker has himself confirmed he tore his Achilles
Tracy Walker adds to list of recent Achilles’ injuries for the Lions
Walker is lined up to have surgery to end his season. The Lions of course had two notable Achilles’ tears last season, with cornerback Jeff Okudah in Week 1 and defensive end Romeo Okwara in Week 4. Okwara has returned and played very well in the first three games this season, while Okwara is on IR and will miss at least one more game. But Okwara is also without a definite timetable to return, as he approaches one year removed from the injury.
Walker’s absence was clearly felt late in Sunday’s loss, as back-to-back coverage breakdowns allowed the Vikings to cover 56 yards in just two plays and score the game-winning touchdown. The “miscommunication” on the touchdown play would have been far less likely with Walker on the field.
The internal options to replace Walker are JuJu Hughes, rookie Kerby Joseph and second-year man Ifeatu Melifonwu. Will Harris could also transition back to safety, but he’s a far better cornerback than he was a safety and moving him feels unlikely. An outside free agent signing is unlikely, but general manager Brad Holmes and the front office could look at other team’s practice squads for someone to sign.