Lions’ Kerby Joseph Underwent Hip Surgery, Reveals Timeline to Return: Report

Kerby Joseph

Getty Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph told reporters on April 18 that he underwent offseason hip surgery and will not return until training camp.

The Detroit Lions unveil of their new uniforms was a celebration on April 18. But Lions safety Kerby Joseph also broke some bad news.

Joseph told reporters at Ford Field after the organization’s new uniforms announcement that he underwent offseason hip surgery. Due to the procedure, he will miss the team’s offseason workouts.

The safety said he expects to return by training camp.

“Y’all just bear with me. But I’ll be back,” said Joseph, via The Detroit News’ Nolan Bianchi.

Joseph sustained the hip injury during Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks. He missed Weeks 3 and 4 and was listed as questionable for Week 5. But Joseph played in Week 5 and then was off the injury report for the rest of the season.

In 15 games, he recorded 82 combined tackles, which was the same amount he had during his rookie season in 17 contests. Joseph also had 1 tackle for loss, 11 pass defenses and 4 interceptions during 2023.

Lions’ Kerby Joseph Undergoes Offseason Hip Surgery

Joseph set expectations high for his second season after a stellar 2022 rookie campaign. USA Today’s Lions Wire’s Jeff Risdon argued that Joseph experienced an “up-and-down” 2023. But the surgery he required on his hip is an easy reason to explain why.

“The ball-hawking safety missed the next two games before returning to action,” Risdon wrote. “His coverage range and closing burst were not the same for the rest of the season, however.”

With the safety undergoing the surgery, though, the hope for the Lions has to be that Joseph will return healthy and better than he was in 2023. That would be a huge boost to the Lions, who were 27th in passing yards allowed last season.

Detroit added cornerbacks Carlton Davis and Amik Robertson this offseason. The team could also target a cornerback in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft.

But the Lions have yet to address safety in free agency.

However, to Joseph’s credit, he didn’t use the hip injury as an excuse while talking to reporters on April 18.

“If I’m out there, I’m going 100%. [There isn’t a] hindrance. I’m gonna give it all I got every time,” said Joseph, via Bianchi.

Lions Safety Depth Heading into 2024 NFL Draft

The Lions could view Joseph undergoing hip surgery as a good thing. Again, he could return healthier and better than last season, and he is expected to return for training camp.

However, if he’s not ready for the start of camp, the Lions could have a thin safety corps to begin the preseason.

While the Lions made offseason additions at cornerback, they have only made subtractions at safety. First, Detroit release veteran safety Tracy Walker and then didn’t re-sign C.J. Gardner-Johnson in free agency. Gardner-Johnson elected to return to the Philadelphia Eagles.

As a result, the Lions only have two other safeties currently on their roster other than Joseph — Ifeatu Melifonwu and Brandon Joseph.

But while Kerby Joseph was among Detroit’s defensive leaders in snaps last season, Melifonwu played only 535 defensive snaps, and Brandon Joseph didn’t play on defense at all.

Melifonwu showed promise as a starter at the end of the 2023 season. But he obviously can’t man both safety spots. As the roster stands right now, the team will badly miss Joseph in the safety room until he returns.

In light of Joseph’s injury, the Lions will very likely have to make some kind of addition at safety either during the draft or in the pool of undrafted free agents.

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