DJ Chark thought a little rest would do his body good. Now that it hasn’t two weeks later, concern is growing over the Detroit Lions receiver’s injured left ankle.
Chark did not practice Wednesday because of continued problems with the ankle he fractured last September with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Chark missed the final 13 games of last season and signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Lions this spring.
“Certainly we don’t want anything to rear its head again,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said. “But I think it’s like anything else, it’s something that’s bothering him and we just got to get him to where he feels right and get it back to where it needs to be.”
Chark, the Lions’ biggest free-agent addition of the offseason, has just seven catches for 98 yards this season and sat out losses to the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots before the bye.
Chark told the Free Press before the Patriots game there was nothing structurally wrong with his ankle. He returned to practice on a limited basis that Thursday, but sat out Friday and was held out of that week’s game in New England.
Campbell said Chark’s issue now is about more than pain management.
“We’re still getting some things looked at, and so no, I think it’s probably a little bit more than that,” he said. “But there again, we’re kind of working through it.”
The Lions have been riddled with injuries at a receiver position that appeared to be one of the team’s strengths to start the year.
Amon-Ra St. Brown missed one game and was severely limited in another by a high ankle sprain, Josh Reynolds played the past two games through a low ankle sprain, and Quintez Cephus hurt his foot in a Week 3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and is on injured reserve. The Lions also have been without top running back D’Andre Swift the past two games because of a sprained shoulder.
Swift returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, but Reynolds joined Chark and several others on the sideline. Offensive linemen Taylor Decker and Matt Nelson, defensive end Charles Harris and defensive backs Bobby Price and Ifeatu Melifonwu did not practice Wednesday.
All but Decker, who was out for personal reasons, are drealing with injuries.
“Both (Swift and Chark are) a little bit better and that’s about as good as I can give you right now,” Campbell said.
As deep as their injury problems run at receiver, Campbell said the Lions will not rush rookie first-round pick Jameson Williams back into action.
Williams tore his ACL in Alabama’s national championship game loss in January and is on the nonfootball injury list.
The No. 12 pick of April’s draft is expected to return in the second half of the season, though Campbell has declined to put a timeline on when he’ll be back on the field.
“I would say this: We really felt like he’s turned the corner over the last month,” Campbell said. “We feel like he’s really coming on. And so I would say we’re pretty optimistic he’s going to play this year. Now, that being said, the injuries are not going to have any bearing on when he plays. We’re not going to let that affect us. When he’s ready, we’ll get him up and ready to go but we don’t want to press that just because we have a number of injuries in the receiver room.”