Detroit Lions in 2011: Injured Players Coming Back Healthy This Season

Brenda SummersCorrespondent IIMarch 28, 2011

Matthew Stafford - Sidelined days are over?
Matthew Stafford - Sidelined days are over?Jeff Gross/Getty Images

If you were to ask Detroit Lions' fans who they wanted to see stay healthy this season, Matthew Stafford's name would be heard from every mountain top, every valley and everywhere in between.

The good news is that, after having surgery on his shoulder earlier this year, Stafford is finally throwing the football again.  He may have just started tossing it around this week, but it is a sign we haven't seen since he was officially done for the 2010 season.

In a recent tweet sent by Stafford, he reported, "Just got done throwin [sic] shoulder is feeling good." 

These were sweet words to hear if you are a Lions fan.  He is also reported to be ahead of schedule in his recovery.

Stafford tweeted again on the March 26, "Feelin good after throwing a lot yesterday...bout [sic] to go hoop and see where my game is after not playin [sic] in way to long." 

So, now, Matt is not only throwing the football, but he's shooting hoops too.  Good sign.

Stafford may be the player whose return we have most eagerly awaited, but there were other players who are an integral part of the team that also had season-ending injuries.

Kyle Vanden Bosch had neck surgery even before the end of the season.

Vanden Bosch had two vertebrae in his spinal column fused together in early December, but called the rehab a "piece of cake." He says that, in a couple weeks to a month, you won't even know he had surgery.

KVB should be 100 percent well before training camp. He had four sacks in 11 games last season before going down.  (Detroit Free Press)

It's March, and he started his own workouts for anyone interested on the defensive line (Avril and Sims have joined him).  He is reporting that he is at full-strength and feeling better than he has in a long time.

Jahvid Best had turf toe on both feet.  Luckily, the doctors said he did not need surgery. But he did need to stay off of his feet as much as possible for two months to let them heal.

Let's hope he's done that.

My belief about Best is that he did what he was asked to do.  He wants to live up to his last name, and will be as close to 100 percent as he can get this season.

Schwartz has also confirmed that he is not worried about Jahvid's ability to come back at full strength and show the talent he had at the beginning of the season before his injuries.  He complimented Best, and said that most players who had even one foot with turf toe would ask to be out at least a month.  Best never wanted to off the field. 

DeAndre Levy and Louis Delmas were scheduled to have groin surgery this off-season, and Chris Houston along with Alphonso Smith were scheduled to have shoulder surgery.  So far, everyone is reportedly on track for recovery.

Schwartz has commented on the secondary that many Lions fans have expressed concern about.  C. Houston and A. Smith are expected to be back this season.  Jim Schwartz has stated that he expects A. Smith to improve as he showed moments of the kind of potential the team needs at CB right now.

Gosder Cherilus, who won the starting job at right tackle for the Detroit Lions, has had bad knees and is recovering from microfracture knee surgery.

“The biggest key is how well he can deal with the knee injuries and whether he can put them in his past, or if they're going to be a constant," Schwartz said, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

"There's plenty of players that deal with injuries that are constantly around. We're not talking about that with Matt [Stafford], but maybe with Gos that's going to be something he'll have to deal with. Having to deal with it doesn't mean that you can't do the job with it.

Schwartz ended up complimenting Cherilus on the progress he made on the field. He believes he will be able to do a very good job for the Lions' offense this season if he can keep his knees healthy.

Defensive end Cliff Avril injured his knee, finger, ribs, quadriceps and his leg all during the 2010 season.  However, he also played through much of his injuries. 

I recently asked him if he felt his body had fully recovered during this off-season.  Avril answered,  "Yeah, I'm good. I'm feeling good."

If he is working out with KVB, he's got be in good shape.

Wide Receiver, Calvin Johnson will play through almost any amount of pain.  He was taken out of the game a few times last season for a groin injury, and then an ankle injury.  He is expected to be back to full health this season.

Kicker Jason Hanson's future is more questionable.  The Lions have decided not to make a decision on whether they are bringing the 40-year-old Hanson back until later this summer. He had a rough year in 2010, with injuries to both knees and then the season-ending MCL sprain. Hanson has been the Kicker for the Lions for 19 years.

Zach Follett, as many readers already know, was carted off the field with a serious neck injury. But after receiving a tender this year, he has decided to re-sign for another season with the Lions. This is contingent on Follett passing his physicals in the fall.

The one player I have not heard a single word about is Jordon Dizon.  He was out the entire regular season after a knee injury sustained during preseason play.  He was supposed to have been scheduled for surgery on a torn ACL, but no word has been reported on his recovery.

With all of the players taking care of their physical health this off-season, expect the Lions to be ready to take on the NFC North with a vengeance this year.