How Nate Sudfeld’s knee injury could alter Detroit Lions’ plans at quarterback

Detroit Free Press

CHARLOTTE – Detroit Lions backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld suffered a knee injury in the third quarter of Friday’s preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers that could keep him off the field for “a little bit” of time, Lions coach Dan Campbell said.

Sudfeld was injured on the opening drive of the second half, when he stepped awkwardly with his left leg while scrambling near the Panthers’ sideline.

Sudfeld walked gingerly off the field with Lions trainers and was carted to the locker room. Campbell referred to his injury as “a hyperextension” and said Sudfeld would undergo more testing Saturday.

Outside linebacker Julian Okwara and defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs also left Friday’s game with injuries. Okwara declined to reveal the nature of his injury but said he will be fine after the game. Buggs moved around without issue on the sideline after leaving with trainers.

Rookie receiver Antoine Green also finished the game with a sleeve on his left knee after leaving briefly and receiving medical attention.

“I would say Nate, it could be a little bit,” Campbell said. “That one, I don’t know entirely, but if you’re saying who I thought may have more of a significant injury than the others, I think his could be. But we’ll know more tomorrow.”

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Sudfeld entered Friday on the roster bubble as the Lions weigh whether to keep a third quarterback, and the nature of his injury could impact the team’s plans for the position behind starter Jared Goff and backup Nate Sudfeld.

If Sudfeld is injured and the Lions don’t plan to keep him on their 53-man roster, they could place him on season-ending injured reserve before Tuesday’s roster deadline or release him with an injury settlement.

Players cut with an injury settlement cannot re-sign with the team that released them for the length of the settlement plus three weeks.

Sudfeld, who completed 26 of 51 passes for 291 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions this preseason, was a strong candidate for the practice squad before his injury, if the Lions did not keep him on their roster. Now, that spot could go to fourth quarterback Adrian Martinez.

Martinez finished nine of 18 passing for 76 yards and one rushing touchdown this preseason.

Goff did not play in exhibition games this summer, while Bridgewater was 18 of 33 for 212 yards in starts the past two weeks.

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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