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The Detroit Lions held their final practice of training camp for 2011 on Thursday. The team will return to the practice field next week to get ready for their final preseason game, and after that they will start practicing to get ready for the regular season. Technically training camp is now over, though.
The same can't be said for defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch. He was out again due to a shoulder injury. He hasn't practiced all week and won't be playing against the New England Patriots on Saturday as a result.
Running back Jahvid Best also likely won't play on Saturday despite practicing for the second day in a row. The Lions don't want to rush him back into a preseason game just a week after suffering a concussion, but he was able to practice since there was no contact.
The Detroit Lions held their second-to-last open practice of training camp on Wednesday, and the fans in attendance got to see the return of running back Jahvid Best. He was cleared to practice by trainers on Tuesday, and he returned to the practice field on Wednesday for the first time since suffering his apparent concussion against the Cleveland Browns last Friday.
While Best returned, wide receiver Calvin Johnson and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch were both stuck on the sideline again. Both Johnson and Vanden Bosch are dealing with sore shoulders, and at this point in the preseason there's no sense in rushing veterans like them back out onto the practice field if they're not 100 percent healthy.
Two veterans who did come back after missing practice are wide receiver Rashied Davis and offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus. The two players had Tuesday off to rest, but they were back at it on Wednesday.
UPDATE: In roster news, the Lions signed former Michigan State center Chris Morris on Wednesday. Offensive guard Greg Niland was released to make room on the roster for Morris. Check out Pride of Detroit for more info on Morris.
Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch were among the players who missed Tuesday's practice. Best is still recovering from his apparent concussion, although Lions head coach Jim Schwartz did say that Best was cleared to practice on Wednesday. Vanden Bosch is dealing with a shoulder injury. It doesn't appear to be a serious injury, but he, like Best, is unlikely to play on Saturday against the New England Patriots.
Other players who missed Tuesday's practice include wide receiver Calvin Johnson, wide receiver Rashied Davis, tight end Richard Dickson, offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus and cornerback Alphonso Smith. Johnson is dealing with a shoulder injury that he suffered in Week 1 of the preseason. Dickson apparently has a knee injury, and it may keep him sidelined for a while. Davis and Cherilus simply got a day off, and Smith continued working toward returning from his broken foot.
One injured player who did return on Tuesday is defensive tackle Andre Fluellen. He had been out for a while with a broken hand, and although he is still wearing a large cast, he was able to practice on Tuesday.
Detroit Lions training camp continued on Monday with a morning practice. The Lions hit the field with all of the players who returned to practice on Sunday. That indicates there were no setbacks, although wide receiver Titus Young did leave after participating in the 7-on-7 and 1-on-1 drills on Monday. Chris McCosky said Young had his hamstring taped up and iced and was walking "stiff-legged," suggesting he suffered a setback. Jim Schwartz says that's not the case, though.
"No," coach Jim Schwartz said when asked if Young tweaked his hamstring. "It was a late practice (Sunday) and he took 24 reps. He took 34 reps today. Every time, as soon as he's done, we're going to ice it. I think he's OK.
"We are going to do a little more each day and hopefully we get past the point of counting his reps and pulling him out. But right now that's the smartest way to do it."
Running back Jahvid Best, tight end Richard Dickson, offensive tackle Jason Fox, defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, defensive tackle Nick Fairley, defensive tackle Andre Fluellen and cornerback Alphonso Smith missed all of Monday's practice. Best is recovering from a concussion, and Dickson is recovering from a knee injury. Fairley, Fox and Smith are all recovering from foot injuries, and Fluellen is waiting for his broken hand to heal. Vanden Bosch sat out practice again to rest, although he wasn't exactly thrilled with being on the sideline.
For the first time all training camp, Detroit Lions offensive tackle Jeff Backus practiced with his teammates. Backus had been on the active/non-football injury list with a pectoral injury, but he was activated on Sunday and is now back and should give a boost to the Lions' offense.
Also potentially giving a boost to the Lions' offense is wide receiver Titus Young. He also returned to practice on Sunday, although he only participated in the 7-on-7 drill. After that he left practice to work on his conditioning, which Jim Schwartz says is part of the plan to get Young back on track.
Other players that returned to practice after missing some time are running back Maurice Morris, wide receiver Demario Ballard, tight end Tony Scheffler and cornerback Chris Houston. Morris' broken hand is now recovered enough for him to practice, as is Scheffler's hand, which had stitches put into it last week. Ballard is back after dealing with a foot injury, and Houston returned after having problems with his groin. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who sat out Friday's game for precautionary reasons, practiced as well.
Four players who didn't practice on Sunday are fullback Matt Clapp, defensive tackle Corey Hilliard, defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and defensive tackle Quinn Pitcock. It's not clear what injuries, if any, these players are dealing with.
Offensive tackle Isaac Sowells also didn't practice on Sunday because he was waived/injured by the Lions. If he clears waivers the Lions can outright release him or put him on injured reserve, which is what they did with safety Randy Phillips, who was waived/injured last week.
Things got a bit heated at Wednesday's Detroit Lions practice. After offensive tackle Corey Hilliard and defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch got into it a few plays in a row, a brawl broke out. This came after there was a scuffle because of a supposed cheap shot on defensive end Willie Young by fullback Matt Clapp.
In order to cool everybody's temper, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz ordered the team to run gassers. He said that the team just had too much energy, and he wanted them to expel it by running rather than fighting.
"We had a little too much energy during practice,'' Schwartz said. "We needed to expel it somehow so we ran for a little bit and then we got back to work. It was probably a good time to do it. It was about as hot as we can get up here and we took advantage of it."
In injury news, the Lions got cornerback Chris Houston and defensive tackle Corey Williams back after they suffered injuries earlier in the week. Cornerback Eric Wright, who also got hurt earlier this week, was once again unable to practice. Also missing from practice on Wednesday were safety John Wendling, and wide receivers Titus Young and Demario Ballard. Tight end Tony Scheffler had to leave after cutting the webbing between two of his fingers since stitches were necessary to fix up the cut.
In roster news, the Lions signed safety Aaron Francisco and waived/injured safety Randy Phillips. Offensive guard Jeff Maddux and cornerback Maurice Leggett, who were waived/injured last week, were released from injured reserve.
There was also some progress with Lions’ first round draft pick Nick Fairley, who appears one step closer to returning to the ‘Silver Crush.’ He was watching practice from the sidelines on Tuesday in the comfort of a new walking boot, which replaced his recently removed cast. Fairley, who had surgery two weeks ago, is taking rehab day-by-day and hopes he can return as soon as possible.
Other notes on the Lions’ other injury problems: Lions cornerbacks Chris Houston and Eric Wright both missed practice again on Tuesday with groin injuries. The injuries are luckily deemed to be not that serious. Defensive tackle Corey Williams, who had to leave practice early on Monday because he rolled his ankle, did not practice on Tuesday, either.
Injuries have been an issue for the Detroit Lions throughout training camp, and it doesn't look like they are going away anytime soon. A lengthy list of players missed or had to leave practice on Monday, including wide receiver Calvin Johnson. He is dealing with a bruised shoulder and has now missed two straight days of practice.
Joining him on the list of injured players are cornerbacks Chris Houston and Eric Wright. Both players are dealing with groin injuries, and Houston missed all of Monday's practice. Wright left during the practice after being unable to continue playing with the injury. Neither injury is considered serious, thankfully.
Another injury that isn't considered serious is one that forced defensive tackle Corey Williams to leave practice early. He rolled his ankle, but it doesn't seem as though there is much concern over the injury.
Some other bits of injury news: QB Drew Stanton returned after missing a day to prevent an infection since he had to have stitches in his right elbow. ... WR Demario Ballard was wearing a walking boot after injuring his foot on Monday. ... OT Jason Fox is now wearing a walking boot instead of a cast. ... Both OT Jeff Backus and CB Alphonso Smith could apparently return soon.
The Detroit Lions hit the practice field on Sunday for the first time since their preseason opener. They were forced to practice indoors because of bad weather, and they were without a lengthy list of players thanks to numerous injuries.
The most notable player to join the list of players unable to practice was WR Calvin Johnson. He suffered a bruised shoulder against the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday and is considered day-to-day by the Lions.
QB Drew Stanton also joined the list of players that missed practice. He had a puncture wound in his right elbow and needed two stitches to close it. In order to prevent an infection, the Lions decided to keep him out from practice. It's nothing serious, thankfully.
Other players out on Sunday were RB Maurice Morris, WR Titus Young, OT Jeff Backus, OT Isaac Sowells, OT Jason Fox, DT Andre Fluellen, DT Quinn Pitcock, DT Nick Fairley, CB Alphonso Smith and S Randy Phillips.
A day after Jeff Daniels and Jeff Fisher visited , Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo and former Tigers great Willie Horton training campchecked out practice. Izzo was very impressed with the team and the job Jim Schwartz has done as he gets ready for his third preseason as Lions coach.
With the preseason opening on Friday for Detroit, Thursday was the final day of preparation for the Lions. The coaches were able to determine which players won't be playing on Friday, and they also got a chance to see how the injury situation looks. Here's the latest:
The Detroit Lions' first preseason game of 2011 is on Friday night against the Cincinnati Bengals training camp continued on Wednesday afternoon as the team's second-to-last practice before Friday's game was held. Former Titans coach Jeff Fisher, whose son is a defensive assistant for the Lions, attended the practice (for the second day in a row) and watched it with actor and Michigan resident Jeff Daniels.
Unfortunately Fisher and Daniels did not get to see rookie wide receiver Titus Young practice. He was on the field for parts of practice earlier this week, but he was not able to practice on Wednesday. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew, cornerback Aaron Berry and safety Randy Phillips were also unable to practice. Pettigrew is dealing with a "mild" ankle injury and Berry has a "slight" groin pull. Both players are considered day-to-day. It's not clear what the status is for Phillips, who is dealing with a shoulder injury.
In addition to the injured players, offensive tackle Tony Ugoh did not practice on Wednesday. In fact, he wasn't at practice, and Tom Kowalski reports that Ugoh is considering retirement. With depth at offensive tackle pretty thin right now for the Lions they really can't afford to lose another player at the position, but then again, hopefully Jeff Backus is going to return soon. Tom Leyden said Backus was in pads "for a bit" on Wednesday, but he didn't practice. Even so, hopefully it's a sign that he intends to return soon.
There has seemingly been nothing but bad news for the Detroit Lions when it comes to injuries. A number of starters are currently dealing with injuries, and Mikel Leshoure is even out for the year thanks to an injury.
Finally on Tuesday the Lions did get some good news. Offensive tackle Jason Fox, who visited the same specialist who operated on Nick Fairley, found out that he won't need surgery. In fact, he doesn't have a fracture in his injured foot, and it appears that he could return in the next couple of weeks.
"No surgery is required on his foot," he said. "They’re going to immobilize him in a cast for a week and then it’ll probably be another week in a boot and then we’ll just see after that how he responds."
More good news came in the form of seeing wide receiver Titus Young and offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus on the practice field. Both were still limited, but the fact that they have returned at all is a good sign going forward.
Just like Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley did a week ago, offensive tackle Jason Fox visited Dr. Robert Anderson in North Carolina on Monday. Fox hurt his foot during practice on Saturday morning and was using a walking boot and crutches. It's not clear how severe the injury is since Jim Schwartz declined to get into the specifics, but he did say that what's wrong with Fox's foot is different than the issue Fairley had. The Lions are supposed to release more information at some point.
In other injury news, offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus and wide receiver Titus Young returned to practice on Monday. Both were limited, and Young had to ice his hamstring after going through the individual drills, but the fact that they were able to practice at all is a good sign.
Safety Louis Delmas, who had been out after having minor finger surgery, also returned to practice. Running back Maurice Morris, who broke his hand, hopes to join Delmas and his other teammates on the practice field soon.
Three players who won't be on the Lions practice field anytime soon are defensive end Greg Banks, linebacker Daunte Akra and cornerback Jamal Robinson. They were released on Monday as the Lions cleared some space on the roster to sign defensive end Keyunta Dawson and defensive tackle Montavious Stanley. At this time it's not clear who is the third player being added to the roster.
UPDATE: The third player that is joining the team is linebacker Cody Brown, who was claimed off waivers from the Jets.
As soon as I published that Lions rookie running back Mikel Leshoure had been carted off the field with an apparent lower left leg injury, Detroit News beat writer Chris McCosky tweeted that Leshoure is out for the season with a torn achilles. 97.1 The Ticket tweeted that Jim Schwartz confirmed the injury. According to SB Nation Detroit's medical experts, the injury was likely known as soon as Leshoure was tended to by team doctors on the field via the Thompson Squeeze test.
This isn't a completely devastating blow to the Lions offense, but Leshoure was having a great rookie camp en route to complementing the skilled Jahvid Best this year.
The Lions will almost certainly look to pick up another running back now that Leshoure is out for the season, so look for names like Ricky Williams, Laurence Maroney, or even former Lion Kevin Smith to pop up as potential replacements on the team's radar.
I turned on SportsCenter this morning and was greeted with Adam Schefter serving me a bowl of bad cereal in that Lions rookie running back Mikel LeShoure was carted off the field this morning with an apparent left leg injury. I went to the Twitters immediately to see what the Lions beat crew was reporting and it doesn't sound good.
Breaking news from #Lions: rookie RB Mikel leshoure carted off field w/ left leg injury. Looks bad.
Terrible sight as Lions rookie RB Mikel Leshoure is taken off the field on cart after suffering an apparent left leg injury in team drills.
Obviously, this is all just hearsay now, as we're still waiting on an update of the injury, but "carted off" is enough to suggest it could be bad. Very bad.
The list of injured Detroit Lions players seems to grow every day. That has been the case all week long, and it was once again the case on Saturday with offensive tackle Jason Fox suffering a foot injury.
Fox had been taking reps at left tackle with the No. 1 offense with Jeff Backus out. Now the No. 1 reps will likely go to Tony Ugoh, as Fox was seen wearing a walking boot and using crutches after practice. It doesn't sound like he will be back in the immediate future.
In other injury news, the Lions were once again without Maurice Morris, Titus Young, Gosder Cherilus, Andre Fluellen, Nick Fairley, Alphonso Smith and Louis Delmas on Saturday. All are dealing with injuries, although Young did say he expects to return next week.
Safety Louis Delmas is the latest Detroit Lions player to have surgery. The good news is that unlike the surgery defensive tackle Nick Fairley had earlier this week, Delmas isn't expected to miss much time. He had a minor procedure done to remove a screw in his right ring finger and is healthy enough to practice right now. The only reason he didn't practice on Friday is because the Lions are being extra cautious in order to prevent an infection.
Louis Delmas isnt practicing today after having a screw removed from his finger. Jim Schwartz said not an issue, just cant sweat on it yet
In other injury news, wide receiver Titus Young and offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus once again missed practice. Young has been dealing with leg stiffness since last week and Cherilus is dealing with a sore knee. He had microfracture surgery on the knee near the end of last season.
One other piece of injury news involves defensive tackle Andre Fluellen. He broke his hand on Thursday after getting it caught in a facemask. He was wearing a cast on Friday and is expecting to play with a club on his hand going forward.
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley not only visited a specialist in North Carolina on Wednesday, but he actually had surgery while there. The surgery, which was reportedly done to fix a foot fracture, will force Fairley to miss most or all of training camp.
Below is the statement the Lions released about this news.
"The examination of Nick Fairley's foot today by Dr. Bob Anderson resulted in a diagnosis consistent with that of Lions’ team physicians that surgical correction was required. Accordingly, surgery was successfully performed this afternoon in Charlotte, N.C., by Dr. Anderson. Nick is expected to miss a significant portion of training camp."
Obviously it's never good news for a first-round pick to have surgery to repair an injured foot just days into training camp, but the hope is Fairley will be ready to go when the regular season rolls around. This injury may slow his growth as an NFL player down, but the key thing is for him to not miss any regular season games. Based on the Lions' statement, it doesn't sound like they are expecting him to be out for anything beyond training camp and the preseason, which is a much better timetable for recovery than some were anticipating.
After appearing at practice on Tuesday with a walking boot, Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley was absent on Wednesday. This is because he was in Charlotte, North Carolina, being looked at by Dr. Robert Anderson, an orthopedic surgeon. Jim Schwartz said this about Fairley's visit to the specialist.
"After he left the field on Monday, we did some additional tests," said Schwartz. "We had some concerns about his foot. He was being seen late during practice, so we haven’t heard (anything). As soon as we hear his opinion and course of action, we’ll let you guys know."
At this point I think it's safe to say Fairley's injury is more than a tweak. It's still not clear if it's something as bad as a stress fracture, but it certainly doesn't seem like a simple injury that he will get over in a few days.
In other injury news, the Lions were also missing the following players from Wednesday's practice: WR Titus Young, TE Richard Dickson, LT Jeff Backus, RT Gosder Cherilus, CB Jack Williams and CB Alphonso Smith. RB Maurice Morris was wearing a cast because he has a "little crack in his hand."
When Detroit Lions rookie defensive tackle Nick Fairley hurt his foot on Monday, the thinking was that the injury was not serious. Fairley and Lions head coach Jim Schwartz thought the injury was nothing more than a tweak, and X-rays on Fairley's foot were negative.
After missing Tuesday's practice and being seen with a walking boot on his injured foot, it appears as though Fairley's injury could be more serious than originally thought. Schwartz said more tests will be done on Fairley's foot to determine what exactly is wrong, and he also said that he's not sure if this is a long-term or short-term injury.
Schwartz declined to put a timetable on Fairley's return on Monday, but he did say that the Lions were hoping to get the 2011 first-round pick back soon. That likely won't be happening if Fairley has a stress fracture, which is "possible," according to Chris McCosky. The Lions at this point have to be hoping Fairley severely tweaked his foot and there is no damage beyond that. A stress fracture would not be good news at all.
Other players that missed Tuesday's practice are Gosder Cherilus, Titus Young, Jack Williams, Alphonso Smith, Jeff Backus and Zack Follett, who received a day off. Maurice Morris left the practice session with a hand injury.
The Detroit Lions held their third practice of training camp on Monday. During the session rookie defensive tackle Nick Fairley injured his foot. The injury happened during a special teams drill, and there was some initial concern that he hurt his knee. It turns out he tweaked his foot instead, and X-rays turned up nothing serious.
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said Fairley actually wanted to keep practicing after returning from being examined. He didn't participate in the final part of practice since he was sore, but Jim Schwartz didn't sound overly concerned about Fairley missing much time.
"He’s sore. We’ll probably do a few more tests and things like that, but the X-rays were negative, so hopefully, we’ll get him back soon."
Gosder Cherilus, Titus Young, Jack Williams, Alphonso Smith and Jeff Backus missed all of Monday's practice. Cherilus and Williams seemed to be getting some time off in order to not aggravate knee injuries, whereas Young was out again with leg stiffness. Smith and Backus are still on the active/non-football injury list.
The Detroit Lions hit the practice field for the first time during training camp on Friday. They were back on the field on Saturday and actually got to practice outdoors in front of season ticket holders. Friday's practice was supposed to be in front of season ticket holders, but inclement weather moved it indoors and closed it to fans. They came out in big numbers on Saturday, though, setting a Lions camp attendance record of 1,609 fans.
Two players that fans wouldn't have gotten to see on the field on Friday even if they had attended practice are offensive tackle Jeff Backus and cornerback Alphonso Smith. Backus is dealing with a pectoral injury, and his timetable to return is unclear. He expects to be ready for the regular season, as does Smith, who broke his foot three weeks ago. His injury likely will keep him out three more weeks. Both players were placed on the active/non-football injury list on Friday.
With the way the rules of the new CBA are set up, no free agents are expected to be allowed to practice until Aug. 4, so a number of other players have been absent from the first two days of practice. This has allowed guys like Jason Fox, Johnny Culbreath, Lawrence Jackson, Zack Follett, Isaiah Ekejiuba, Aaron Berry and Nathan Vasher to step in as starters for the time being. While the Lions would obviously like to have all of their guys on the field, it can't hurt that some younger players are getting more reps than they usually would.
Here are a few other notes from the first two days of practice:
With the NFL lockout officially coming to an end, there is little time to waste before training camps around the league begin. On Wednesday, for example, 10 teams will open camp. On Thursday, 10 more teams, including the Detroit Lions, will get camp started.
Although camp technically opens for the Lions on Thursday, the first on-field practice won't be until Friday, according to Lions head coach Jim Schwartz. He tweeted this on Monday afternoon:
Back to work ... finally. Can't wait to get started with our players on Thursday with first practice on Friday.
When players report to the Lions' facility in Allen Park, they will go through physicals and meet with coaches for the first time since before the NFL lockout began in March. Players can actually report as early as Tuesday morning. There won't be any practices until later in the week, but they can start getting reacclimated to football and the Lions on Tuesday.
Although the new collective bargaining agreement has not been ratified by the NFLPA just yet (they are in the process of doing so right now), the tentative start dates for training camps around the league have leaked out. Apparently in the new CBA the start dates for training camp are based on the date of a team's first preseason game. 15 days before the first game is when training camp can begin.
The Detroit Lions, which have their first preseason game on Aug. 12, are scheduled to open training camp on Thursday, July 28. Here is a rundown of the schedule for all 32 NFL teams (via Matt Pomeroy):
Obviously nothing is official, but these dates should be announced once the new CBA is officially given the go-ahead by the players.