The Detroit Lions watched as safety Tracy Walker went down on Sunday, and immediately after it happened, there was fear that the injury was bad news.
Quickly on Monday, September 26, that was revealed to be the case. As NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport revealed, Walker is believed to have suffered an achilles tear in the loss to Minnesota, which would end his season.
“Lions S Tracy Walker, who had been impressive during the early part of the season, is believed to have suffered a torn Achilles on Sunday. That would knock him out for the season, sources say,” Rapoport tweeted.
Losing Walker is a brutal blow to the Lions. He was a veteran that was capable of being the heartbeat of the second level, and was playing great football to start his 2022 season after coming into his own with the new staff in 2021. Detroit had just re-signed Walker this past offseason.
Hopefully, whatever Walker is dealing with he can find a way through and have a solid recovery.
Walker Left Game on Cart With Injury
Walker was hobbled early in the game in Week 3 and ended up being carted off with a leg injury. In real-time, the injury didn’t look good for the Lions, especially given the presence of the cart.
“Tracy Walker headed to the locker room on a cart,” Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweeted.
As some said, the injury looked non-contact, which would indicate something potentially serious for the Detroit veteran.
“The Tracy Walker injury was non-contact and about 10 yards from the play. Let’s hope it’s not Achilles but that didn’t look good,” Twitter user WorldofIsaac tweeted.
Eventually, Walker was ruled out by the Lions for the game.
Obviously, this is very bad news for the Lions and their defensive depth moving forward, especially on the back end. The team is already struggling to stop the opposition via the pass.
Detroit got off the field the series after Walker was hurt, but in a full series with the backup safeties and over the course of the game, the Lions gave up some an easy looking touchdown drives through the air, perhaps pointing to the trouble they could be in long-term.
Without Walker, Lions Depending on Youth
Now that it seems Walker is likely out long-term, the Lions will have to depend on some underrated players to step up on their roster.
When Walker went out, backup safety JuJu Hughes was inserted in. Hughes was a signing early in the offseason and is a special teams player by trade mostly. He could give the team some snaps.
Still, Detroit’s depth at safety is concerning at this point given how young the team is at the spot. Without Walker, DeShon Elliott would be the veteran, and the Lions may have to depend on the likes of rookie Kerby Joseph to play a role, and the injured Ifeatu Melifonwu, who is a converted cornerback.
Without Walker long-term, the Lions would have to find a way to get by somehow, or could perhaps scour the market for a safety to add to depth.
No matter who steps up, it will be a tough ask given how much the veteran means to the team and how much he was set to mean going forward during 2022.
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