After guard Jonah Jackson returned from a three-week absence to start against the Los Angeles Chargers on November 12, he headed back to the injury report after hurting his wrist and was ruled out for the team’s November 19 game against the Bears.
Head coach Dan Campbell opened up about the setback this week, noting that the line has been dealing with injuries all season and are ready to do it again on Sunday.
Familiar Situation for Lions’ Line
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Campbell said it will be up to either Kayode Awosika or Colby Sorsdal to step up and start at right guard. Both have started this season, and Campbell said either would be comfortable doing it again.
“A lot of comfort. Those guys have time on task, they’ve played with the other guys,” Campbell said, via SI.com. “We’ve got some guys that can play over there, ‘Yode, Sorsdal, Skip (Dan Skipper). So we’ve got options here.”
Jackson, a 26-year-old Pro Bowler, has been limited to six games this season. The Lions have endured a number of injuries at offensive line, DetroitLions.com reporter Tim Twentyman noted.
“So once again the Lions will have to shuffle up their combinations up front, which unfortunately has become the norm in Detroit this season,” Twentyman wrote. “They have had seven different starting combinations in seven of their first eight games before finally having their top five of Taylor Decker, Jackson, Frank Ragnow, Graham Glasgow and Penei Sewell back together last week. That combination helped produce 325 net passing yards and 200 rushing yards for the first time in franchise history in the Lions’ 41-38 win over the Chargers last week.”
Lions Facing Other Injuries
The Lions had another setback this week, with veteran lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai being placed on injured reserve after re-aggravating the back injury that wiped out his entire 2022 season.
Jeff Risdon of USA Today’s Lions Wire believes the injury will bring an end to Vaitai’s time with the Lions, and hinted that it could mean an end to his career.
“The injury almost certainly closes the door on Vaitai’s playing career in Detroit,” Risdon wrote. “He’s a pending free agent, thanks to a reworked contract that leaves his 2024 season as a void year. Players over 30 with chronic back issues typically don’t find much of a market, not even with a team that genuinely appreciates all that Vaitai offers off the field.”
The Lions are facing injuries on the other side of the ball as well, ruling out defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs after he was hit with an illness this week. Campbell also gave a pessimistic assessment of pass rusher James Houston, who was placed on injured reserve after suffering a fractured ankle
“We’d be shooting for December, but he’s still got a ways to go, and that’s probably more late December if it’s going to happen,” Campbell said on November 14.
“I do think this is one you can come back from pretty quickly once it’s healed and he’s out and about, but he still has to get out there, he’s got to practice, get his feet under him, get the mental side of it,” Campbell added. “So, I don’t know. Until he’s out there, it’s hard to say what he’s going to look like.”