Lions’ Jonah Jackson explains why finger injury is keeping him sidelined

Detroit News

Allen Park — During his football career, Jonah Jackson has played through a sprained MCL, an injured shoulder and a collarbone issue, but he’s presently sidelined by the ring finger on his right hand. The irony isn’t lost on the 6-foot-4, 311-pounder coming off his first Pro Bowl season.

But here’s the thing: Offensive linemen are successful when they can win with their hands and their feet. And one of Jackson’s hands, his power hand he uses to halt oncoming defensive tackles, is ineffective at the moment. So, yeah, he’s missed the last two games and remains day-to-day until he can regain flexibility and strength in a finger he got tangled and bent in a teammate’s pads during a practice.

“This is my job,” Jackson said, holding up his hands. “This is how I get it done, especially being at guard, being on the inside, your inside hand, this is your power hand.”

Jackson called his left hand his knife. It’s what he uses to initially reach out and engage the defender. It’s his stab hand, if you will. But the right hand, Jackson said that’s his gun. It’s what he throws into the chest of the defender to hopefully stop them in their tracks.

“This is the power hand,” he said, grunting. “You grip with (this hand) and this is how you settle in and just kinda shut down the rush.”

But that’s a problem, since he still can’t flex the finger, he’s unable to grasp. And while he remains optimistic he can return the next two weeks, before the team’s bye, he also doesn’t have any sense when the strained tendon will allow him to do so. Getting to the point where he’s able to do his job is the goal, but even simple, everyday things are still causing him problems at the moment.

“I haven’t bent it too bad in a while, but the other day I went to put my hand up on my steering wheel just to put it at that top, and bent it,” Jackson said. “It wasn’t a tear-jerker, but it was up there. It’s up there. It’ll affect ya. You ever get that shock that makes you hot? Get a little heartbeat to it?”

Obviously, Jackson is frustrated, even though there’s nothing more he can do to resolve the situation. He hasn’t missed this much time since rupturing his orbital bone when playing for Rutgers, an injury that required a titanium plate that’s still in place. And while it’s been uplifting to see the offense and the offensive line reserves have success without him, he’s eager to get back on the field and build off his Pro Bowl campaign from a season ago.

“Oh I’m ready to keep it going once this is back in action,” Jackson said. “I mean, lock the gates. Let’s go. It is (frustrating), especially not being able to be there for these guys, and Skip (Dan Skipper) and Evan (Brown) are doing a tremendous job. That’s what we hang our hat on, is the next guy in, but just not being able to be there, and being on the sidelines, it’s a whole different world.”

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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