James Houston believes he’ll return ‘ before the playoffs’

USA Today

It’s been months since the Lions had James Houston available as a pass-rushing option on defense. That could change soon, according to the second-year EDGE himself.

Houston talked with the media this week and updated his progress from ankle surgery. He’s been out since Week 2, when he broke his fibula while playing special teams against Seattle.

“It’s looking like the timeline is before the playoffs, I should be able to get some games in,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

His injury was severe enough to require multiple screws and threaded ropes to fix the ankle. Houston has been working with trainers and Lions team doctors to try and get back on the field this season.

“We’re kind of seeing how it goes. I’m starting to get into the flow of things. I mean, it’s really gonna be all up to (Lions medical staff),” Houston stated.

As a rookie in 2022, Houston proved a dynamic late-season addition. He racked up eight sacks in the final seven games after being signed off the practice squad. Houston didn’t make the initial 53-man roster as a fifth-round pick but worked hard in practice to get his shot.

Houston continued, explaining why it’s important for him to be back before the postseason.

“I can get my feet under me, get a couple games before (the playoffs) even more. It’s even higher in the playoffs,” Houston said. “I know a lot of guys here probably haven’t been in too many (postseason) games, but the guys that have been, they’ve been telling me, playoff games are a whole different animal.”

How well he can perform on the surgically repaired ankle remains to be seen. Houston wins with burst off the line and then tightly bending the corner to get to the quarterback. The bend is directly related to his ankle and his ability to get low and flex the edge.

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