Lions injury update: Dan Campbell expects near-perfect attendance for training camp

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

As the Lions close out minicamp, Dan Campbell feels the team is in a position to have near-perfect attendance for training camp

The Detroit Lions wrapped up mandatory minicamp on Thursday marking the end of spring workouts for the team’s veterans. The organization will hold a few more OTA practices for their younger players next week, and at their conclusion, the rest of the remaining players will exit for summer break.

Lions coach Dan Campbell has repeatedly said the team is happy with how the team is progressing through their offseason development, scheme installation, and overall health. And while the daily participation reports have shown as many as 16 players not participating during OTAs and minicamp, Campbell feels almost all 90 players on the current roster will be ready to practice when training camp starts in late July.

The one player Campbell identified as potentially needing more time, was veteran defensive tackle DJ Reader, arguably their top free agent acquisition this offseason.

“Yeah, I would say Reader would be the one who—he’ll be a decision on at what point is he ready to start practicing,” Campbell said on Thursday. “But that’s not something that we’re caught off guard by. We knew this would take a minute here.

“I would anticipate everybody else to be pretty close to ready, if not it’s going to be tight. It’ll be enough to where they’re going to get a really good amount of training camp work, if that makes sense. So no, there’s nobody that I’m alarmed by. I would say Reader is probably the one that’s going to take a minute.”

Reader is rehabbing from a quad injury—his second in the last two seasons—that knocked him out of last season, but he is optimistic about his ability to recover in time to be prepared for the season.

“I expect to be out there,” Reader said in March. “I expect to be out there at the beginning of the season. I expect to be ready. I don’t want to put like days or things like that on myself, but I expect to be out there. I don’t know what everyone else’s expectations are but I hold myself to a high standard as a person and as a player. I know I’m going to get in there and grind every single day.”

Beyond Reader, the Lions have several other projected starters who have not been participating or have been limited during OTAs/minicamp for a variety of reasons. Taylor Decker (ankle surgery), Brian Branch (cleanup procedure), and Kerby Joseph (minor surgery) were proactive and had offseason surgery with hopes of being cleared by training camp. While Frank Ragnow (chronic foot injury — not considering retirement), Kevin Zeitler (has had limited practices this spring), and Marcus Davenport appear to be getting some veteran time off as they have injury histories. Based on Campbell’s comments, all six are expected to be ready to go by training camp.

A few other players have also been dealing with pre-existing injuries from last season. Emmanuel Moseley is recovering from his second consecutive ACL surgery, but he will be eight and a half months into his recovery process when camp starts, giving him a chance to be ready. Rookie Ennis Rakestraw has been dealing with a few injuries from his previous season at Missouri and the Lions have been limiting his reps—though he was trending up as minicamp concluded. Fellow rookie Terrion Arnold has also been limited but it’s not entirely clear of the reason.

The Lions have also had a few players dealing with more recent injuries. Jahmyr Gibbs is dealing with a soft tissue injury not related to a previous injury and has missed some time. Khalil Dorsey went down with an ankle injury on Wednesday—per Campbell—but it looks to be minor. James Houston and Kayode Awosika have also missed some time, but it’s not entirely clear as to why at this juncture.

Additionally, there are also a few Lions players turning corners on some of their existing injuries, none more notable than Levi Onwuzurike—limited since his rookie season with a back injury—who is finally making strides in moving past his injury.

“I just want to be careful because we’re not in pads, I just want to reiterate that, but Levi is having a really good spring,” Campbell said. “(Josh) Paschal is too, but Levi, because where he’s come from and all he’s had to deal with, I mean, this guy just has continued to rehab, he’s continued to train his body and work, he’s put on weight because his back can handle it now. We got him through last year to where he’s able to bank some reps and he’s having a really good spring.”

Overall, the Lions feel they’ve put themselves in a position to have near-perfect attendance for training camp and have confidence the players will do their part to show up to Allen Park ready to go.

“They’re in really good shape right now. They really are,” Campbell said. “It’s one of those that you wish you could start camp in a week. However, you’re going to trust that these guys are going to continue to put in the work, and they do, but make sure you come back into camp and you’re in tip-top shape. That you’re where you are when you left here. And make sure that that’s where you’re at physically. But then mentally, understand that wherever you want this to go and where you want us to go as a team. The work to that point and the work that it’s going to take to get there, you need to understand what that looks like and what you’re getting prepared to do.”

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Title: Lions injury update: Dan Campbell expects near-perfect attendance for training camp
Author: Erik Schlitt

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