T.J. Hockenson had one of the scarier injuries of the week for the Detroit Lions the last time he stepped foot on the field, but the tight end could be progressing on a good track to play against the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football.
Friday, Matt Patricia updated where Hockenson was at in terms of the league’s concussion protocol and after a week of getting back into the mix in practice and getting checked, it sounds as if Hockenson is making the needed strides to perhaps be able to return this week in time for his first look at the Packers.
Obviously, the Lions aren’t going to rush Hockenson back if the doctors don’t think he can go, but as for right now, it certainly seems as if the rookie might be able to come back fairly quickly after the scary looking injury and not miss much if any time.
The fact that the Lions play on Monday might help buy Hockenson the perfect amount of time.
After the injury, NFL analyst Brian Baldinger warned Hockenson and others across the league about making such a hurdle move on the field considering it is such a dangerous act for a player to be prone in the air and then slam into the turf just like Hockenson did.
“I don’t know if he’s out cold, I don’t know if he knocked himself out. I don’t know. I just know is it’s a bad look,” Baldinger said. “A lot of players are doing this. (Todd) Gurley, (Alvin) Kamara, a bunch of guys are doing it in the league. Man that can happen. I don’t want to see any players go out of the game unnecessarily because of that. There’s no way you can hang onto the ball and protect yourself all the time by jumping. Let’s not do it.”
Hockenson is one of the more athletic players in his draft class, and it will be interesting to see if he plays more timidly given his scare or if he continues to go hard no matter what nearly happened to him on the field. It would probably be a good idea for Hockenson to approach this game more calmly as a result of the injury if he does play and ease back in.
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Clearly, Hockenson Is Needed
Hockenson has 166 yards to start his receiving career and 2 touchdowns, but has also shown his chops as a blocker which is significant to Detroit given the troubles they have had running the ball. That’s gotten him some positive attention thus far from analysts. The Lions have managed to grind out yards while also seeing Hockenson featured in the red zone as a receiving threat, giving the team a true dual threat player at the position for the first time in a long time.
While Hockenson might not be a solid play in terms of fantasy given the injury, Green Bay’s defense and his lower overall output this season, the Lions still need him in a big way for all these reasons and more. He’s been one of the better weapons on the offense in terms of the group being well rounded this season.
Hockenson could make a fast return, and that’s great news for his team this week ahead of a key rivalry game.