The Detroit Lions face a short week as they prepare for a road matchup against the Green Bay Packers. With that preparation, the Lions are also still dealing with multiple injuries along the offensive line.
Detroit was missing two starting offensive linemen in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons. In that matchup, the Lions lost two more linemen to injury, one of which was tackle Matt Nelson.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell told the media on September 25 that Nelson will require surgery. Nelson left in the second quarter during Week 3 with an ankle injury.
“We’re putting Nelson down. He’s going to require surgery,” Campbell said in his September 25 press conference. “I hate that for him. So he’s down.”
Nelson came into the season as Detroit’s swing tackle. So while the Lions aren’t losing a starter in Nelson, he’s a versatile veteran that can play either left or right tackle.
Furthermore, the Lions could be down to their fourth-string right tackle in Week 4 against the Packers in part because of Nelson’s injury.
Lions Dealing With Multiple Injuries at Right Tackle
Detroit was missing left tackle Taylor Decker and right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai in Week 3. Because of Decker’s absence the past two weeks, starting right tackle Penei Sewell moved over to left tackle with Nelson slotting in as the new right tackle.
Nelson’s start against the Falcons was his second of the season and 13th of his career. All of them have come with the Lions since the start of the 2021 season.
Dan Skipper replaced Nelson when the veteran left with his injury ankle. Skipper has been another long-time reserve tackle for the Lions. Last season, he started five games.
Campbell said Skipper “banged away” in place of Nelson, but then said that Skipper suffered an injury. In his place, the Lions called on fifth-round rookie Colby Sorsdal.
Sorsdal dressed for the first two games of this season, but Week 3 was the first time he saw action on offense. He played 36 offensive snaps, all at right tackle.
“Sorsdal went and honestly, he did a solid job,” Campbell told the media. “He went in and filled in admirably, and he’ll get better from those reps that he took.
“That’s about the best way I can say it.”
Colby Sorsdal Could Start at Right Tackle in Week 4
It’s never a good time to suffer a rash of injuries at one position. But during a short week is a particularly bad time.
Because of injuries to Decker, Nelson and Skipper, Campbell admitted that Sorsdal will be an option the team considers for right tackle in Week 4. The Lions will face the Packers at Lambeau Field on September 28.
If there’s any good news for the Lions, it’s that Decker did practice in limited fashion on September 25. If he returns, Sewell will presumably flip back to right tackle with Sorsdal in reserve.
Skipper is potentially a possibility as well. The Lions elevated him from the practice squad for Week 3. Because he went back to the practice squad after the game, the Lions haven’t officially updated his injury status.
Therefore, it’s unclear whether he could play at Lambeau Field.
The Lions have other questions along the offensive line as well ahead of the matchup with the Packers. Vaitai and center Frank Ragnow didn’t practice on September 25. Guard Jonah Jackson practiced in limited fashion.