Detroit Lions: Injured Players the Lions Will Miss the Most This Season
It seems like every year the Detroit Lions are ravaged by injuries. Despite their success in 2011, most people would say the injury bug bit them hard and that was the reason they didn't finish better.
Believe it or not, the Lions were one of the teams least affected by injury in 2011. According FootballOutsiders.com, the Lions had the fourth lowest Adjusted Games Lost total in the NFL. AGL is games lost to injuries adjusted to only include star players and key backups.
Detroit's total AGL was 28. As a comparison, St. Louis was the worst in the NFL with 110.
Despite the hand-wringing last season, Detroit fans had it good. The Lions were healthier than most and that went a long way in helping them win 10 games.
It remains to be seen if they will have the same luck in 2012. After Saturday night's preseason matchup, it doesn't look so good. Their injury list has grown exponentially.
On the other hand, many of those injuries don't appear to be serious.
With the start of the NFL regular season over a week away, many Lions will have more than enough time to get healthy. Others are not so lucky.
The Lions have had it good, but there are still players who's prognosis is not good. Here are the players the Lions will miss the most in 2012.
5. Chris Greenwood
Chris Greenwood never got a chance to compete for the starting cornerback job this season. He was placed on the PUP list in July with an abdomen injury and hasn't been heard from since.
He's still with the team, working out and watching video, but he's been sans pads for the entirety of camp. Now comes the latest news that he'll remain on the PUP list to start the regular season.
Usually the loss of a rookie, particularly one from a Division III school, wouldn't register a blip on the concern-O-meter. Yet the loss of Greenwood stings.
The Lions drafted him because of his off-the-chart measurables and his potential. The Lions secondary was a problem last season, and Greenwood was drafted as part of the plan to correct that problem.
At the very least, his absence impacts the Lions depth at the cornerback position.
Look what happened Saturday. Both starters went out with injuries and what happened? Someone named Juron Criner victimized their replacements. Obviously quality depth is not a characteristic this group is blessed with.
Who knows, maybe Greenwood would be nose-to-nose with fellow rookie Bill Bentley for the starting job.
The point is this: The Lions need help at cornerback and Greenwood could've provided some. Now, the Lions will have to wait until at least Week 6 to see what he can do.
4. Kyle Vanden Bosch
Kyle Vanden Bosch has missed most of training camp—and all the Lions preseason games—due to a knee injury.
According to Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press, the Lions are known to bring back players slowly from injuries. Is the Vanden Bosch situation simply Jim Schwartz being cautious with the 10-year veteran, or something else?
No one knows for sure.
So far everyone is saying the right thing. Which is absolutely nothing.
KVB was interviewed on the sidelines during Detroit's preseason game in Oakland and shed absolutely no light on his injury—or when he'll return.
Knowing the kind of player he is, I'd be surprised if Vanden Bosch misses any regular season games. It would seem that holding him out now is just a precaution. Then again, what do I know.
One thing is clear, if he can't play, it will hurt the Lions tremendously—even with the emergence of Willie Young. KVB is a valuable leader on and off the field, and he could not be so easily replaced.
3. Stefan Logan and Jahvid Best
The Detroit Lions have moved on, as have their fans. Everyone has concluded that Jahvid Best will not play this season—or perhaps ever again.
The lingering after effects of his third concussion, and the NFL's new approach to head injuries, have lead to Best being no closer to a return than he was at the end of last season. A battery of doctors and specialists now hold his football future in their latex covered hands.
Maybe that's for the best.
We know this: The Lions officially placed him on the PUP list to start the regular season. Whether he returns in Week 6, or is out the entire season, there's no way they can replace his speed and big-play potential.
They will try and fill his shoes with Kevin Smith and Joique Bell. As good as they both are, neither of them are even close to Best.
Then there's Stefan Logan. The converted wide receiver and former return specialist practiced as a running back for most of training camp. He might be the best suited to Best's role in the offense.
Logan can't replace Best's dynamic speed, but he's the closest the Lions have. Unfortunately he suffered an ankle injury against Baltimore and did not dress against Oakland.
The Lions are banking on the versatile Logan's return for sure. Then again, even with him, the Lions rushing attack is suspect.
2. Chris Houston
There's been no report that Chris Houston's ankle injury will cause him to miss any time in the regular season. On the other hand, there's been no report that it won't either.
According to Chris McCoskey of the Detroit News, Jim Schwartz had this to say about Houston:
He was not able to return. We will have to evaluate him when we get home. Hopefully we can get him back as quick as we can.
Thanks for the tidbit, Jim, informative as usual.
We do know that he didn't participate in Monday's practice. So that's not a good sign.
Ankles are tricky injuries. Even a mild sprain can result in missed time, and if Houston has a significant injury, it will cripple Detroit's already shaky secondary.
Houston is their best player at that position. He's no shutdown corner, but he is consistent and he was a playmaker last season.
If he's lost for any significant time, the Lions will be in serious trouble because replacing him will be nearly impossible with the personnel they have.
1. Louis Delmas
It's hard to rely on a player who is so often banged up—and who has missed so much time because of it—yet the Lions find themselves in a familiar spot. Without the quarterback of their secondary.
The Lions have experienced life without Louis Delmas before. He missed the last five weeks of the regular season last year and the defense, particularly the secondary, crumbled.
His impact isn't exactly quantifiable. He doesn't put up gaudy numbers, but he's strong against the run and his all-out style of play energizes the defense. It's obvious the defense is better when he's on the field.
Early in training camp, Delmas' knee injury was considered minor. Then, according to MLive.com, in early August he underwent surgery to, "reduce the high amount of swelling he was enduring." After that his timetable for return went from day-to-day to week-to-week.
To make matters worse there have been no updates about his condition improving. According to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, Jim Schwartz said last week that Delmas wasn't even ready to be on a progression toward returning.
If he returns for the regular-season opener great (although that seems unlikely). If he doesn't, then the Lions secondary will be in trouble. John Wendling and Erik Coleman have performed admirably during the preseason, but neither of them are Delmas.
The key to the Lions' season rests with the defense and they can't afford to be without Delmas for very long. If his injury lingers, it will be a huge blow to their chances of improving in 2012.
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