The Detroit Lions were hoping for a healthy season from wideout DJ Chark, but they have received exactly the opposite from the pass catcher.
Much like other years in the NFL, Chark is being slowed down by injury this season. The culprit? A bulky ankle which cost him time in 2021.
With Chark a major part of Detroit’s Week 7 injury report, fans were feeling a bit restless about the wideout’s situation, and asked Justin Rogers of the Detroit News why Chark was really missing. Perhaps it was for another reason. Rogers confirmed the news wasn’t great.
“Good question, but no. He’s having issues with his surgical addressed ankle from last year. The fact that it’s been lingering for nearly a month is no bueno,” Rogers tweeted.
Indeed, on Thursday, October 20, Chark spoke with the media, and as he admitted to Rogers and other reporters, he’s back in a boot for comfort, even if he expects to return at some point during the season.
“DJ Chark has been in a boot the last two days, calling it a comfort move to accelerate recovery. He has no plans for surgery, fully expects to be back “sooner than later.” Said no idea on possible IR stint, calling that a coaching decision,” Rogers tweeted after listening to Chark speak.
Add it up and this isn’t great news for the Lions. Chark was the team’s big splash at wideout this past offseason, and he has not produced like expected for the team whatsoever. That’s troubling news for the offense and for Chark.
If there’s a silver lining for Detroit, it revolves around the fact that even without Chark making a big impact, the Lions have been hovering around a top-five offense in the league. This could certainly prove that the team doesn’t need him in as big a way right now as many think.
Nevertheless, don’t plan on seeing Chark for a while. Whether he will be healthy and when remains anyone’s guess.
Chark Called out Ahead of 2022 Season
It was clear from the start of the season until now that the pressure was on Chark to perform all things considered given the struggles he had wth
Coming into the year a few months back, Pro Football Focus took a look at naming the players with the most riding on their seasons in 2022. Chark made the cut for the Lions, and as writer Brad Spielberger said, his choice to bet big on himself may indeed look smart by the end of the year.
“Chark and his camp’s decision to go the short-term contract route after missing most of the 2021 campaign to injury has aged well, and with a productive year potentially serving as the No. 1 option in Detroit, the 25-year-old could still cash in big on a multi-year deal,” he wrote.
In hindsight, perhaps that sentiment has aged poorly . The wideout hasn’t done much damage at all this season, and the hope is that he can come back at some point and make a difference.
Right now, though, Lions fans shouldn’t bet on it, nor should they think about any timetables for return.
Chark Enjoyed Solid Debut Game for Lions
This season has been a frustration for Chark, but it didn’t start that way. In the opening game of the 2022 season, the wideout made a big splash with a major touchdown catch that made it appear as if he was on an excellent trajectory.
Late in the fourth quarter on third down, the Lions targeted Chark in the corner of the end zone against Darius Slay. Chark managed to get to the corner of the end zone and haul in a fantastic catch:
Chark may not have had a robust stat line in this game with 52 yards and one touchdown, but he showed why he could be a huge target by getting into the groove of the game late. The hope was he could continue to do this for the Lions in the weeks after, but that game represented his high water mark up until this point of the season, sadly.
After this game, Chark would go on to post only a total of 46 receiving yards, all coming in one game against Minnesota. Since, he has been sidelined, and rest hasn’t helped his ailing ankle one bit.
The Lions will hope that he can indeed come back sooner rather than later to play a role in 2022.