By Chris Morgan
In Week 1, a healthy Detroit Lions team secured a win over the Minnesota Vikings. However, each week of an NFL season grinds down players to some degree. Now the Lions are headed out to Arizona to take on the Cardinals. Can Detroit earn another victory to move to 2-0 on the season? If so, it is possible that they will have to do it without a couple of players from their defense. A defense that caused four turnovers last week, for that matter.
For starters, don’t expect to see wide receiver Ryan Broyles. While he played in preseason, he was inactive for Week 1, as the Lions are determined to let him rest until his surgically repaired knee is fully healed. Broyles can serve as a good slot receiver for this team, but Detroit is being cautious, and with good reason considering Broyles’ injury history.
Another player on offense is likely to be able to play. Reggie Bush was huge in Week 1 for the Lions. He turned a shot reception into a long touchdown, and in addition to having 101 yards receiving, he had 90 yards rushing. However, he also suffered injuries to both his groin and his thumb. But Bush was a full participant in Detroit’s practice on Wednesday, and is probable for this week’s game.
Bush didn’t do well in the preseason, but he looks like a key piece to Detroit’s offense, and having him healthy is huge, even with the presence of the underrated Joique Bell.
On defense, there are more questions. Safety Louis Delmas, as seemingly almost always, is listed as questionable.
He was on the injury report last week, and he is on it again with a knee issue. Delmas was able to participate in a limited fashion on Wednesday, which is slightly encouraging. His availability will usually be up in the air, but his ability to practice, to any degree, is somewhat of a positive sign.
It is always important for the Lions to have Delmas on the field. Carson Palmer and the Cardinals passing game looked good against the Rams, and having Delmas out there to help keep them in check is important.
Speaking of players who are important for Detroit’s pass defense, a new name, and one that brings concern, is on the injury report now. Defensive tackle Nick Fairley is questionable with a shoulder injury and did not practice on Wednesday.
Ndamukong Suh may be the player who gets more ink, but Fairley is a very good defensive tackle in his own right. Against the Vikings in Week 1, he had 1.5 sacks and forced a fumble, which he then recovered. He made a big impact, and he could do that against the Cardinals, and their questionable offensive line, given the chance. Not having Fairley would also be an issue because Detroit’s backup defensive tackles are less than impressive.
There are no important players definitively out right now for the Lions, and Detroit’s offense should be in full effect against the Cardinals, but if Delmas or Fairley can’t play, or if both of them are out, there is reason for alarm for the Lions defense.
Running back Reggie Bush (thumb/groin)
Safety Louis Delmas (knee)
Defensive tackle Nick Fairley (shoulder)
Chris Morgan has been a diehard Detroit Lions fan through the good (Barry Sanders) and the bad (Matt Millen) and that love has led him to take jobs writing about sports, including as a fantasy sports “expert.” His work can be found on Examiner.com. .