By Chris Morgan
After two weeks on the road and their first ever win in Washington, the Detroit Lions head home to take on the Chicago Bears. If the Lions can win this game, they will take the lead in the NFC North and move to 3-1 on the season. However, a couple of recent injuries, including two long-term injuries, are going to make beating the undefeated Bears that much more difficult for Detroit.
For starters, there are two players that will definitely be out, and not just for this game, either. In last week’s game against Washington, defensive end Jason Jones suffered a knee injury that will keep him out for the rest of the season. The Lions will need rookie Devin Taylor and veteran Israel Idonije to step up to replace him. Meanwhile, wide receiver Nate Burleson broke his arm in a car accident. He is not out for the season, but he will be out for quite some time. Detroit just got Ryan Broyles back from injury, and they will need him to replace Burleson.
At least one key player is likely to be back for the Lions. Running back Reggie Bush missed the Washington game with a knee injury, but he practiced fully Wednesday and is probable for this week’s game against the Bears. Joique Bell filled in admirably for Bush, but having them both is even better, especially since both are very good in the passing game, and the Lions need somebone to replace Burleson’s value.
However, getting Bush back could be cancelled out by the absence of wide receiver Calvin Johnson. He did not practice Wednesday with a knee injury. This is a new injury for him, so it remains to be seen if he is able to play this week. Perhaps the Lions were just being cautious with their best player. There is nobody on this team that can replace Johnson’s value. If he can’t go, it is a huge detriment to the Lions offense, especially if both Burleson and Megatron are missing.
There are a couple of questions on defense as well. Safety Louis Delmas is once again questionable with a knee injury. That is concerning, of course, but Delmas has been questionable with a knee injury all season, and he has played in every game. He could eventually miss time, and his track record indicates he likely will, but right now the odds are probably in favor of him playing.
Also on the injury report is defensive end Ezekiel Ansah. He was limited with an abdomen injury at practice Wednesday. Ansah has been quite good so far in his rookie season, and he picked up two sacks against Washington last week. If he can’t go, and the team doesn’t have Jones as well, that would really limit the Lions defensive line. Chicago’s offensive line is improved, so the Lions likely won’t be able to get after Cutler without Ansah’s presence.
While Bush may return, some key players may miss the game. If the Lions don’t have even one of these questionable players in the lineup, it could be the difference between a win and a loss for Detroit.
Running back Reggie Bush (knee)
Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (abdomen)
Safety Louis Delmas (knee)
Wide receiver Calvin Johnson (knee)
Wide receiver Nate Burleson (arm)
For more Lions news and updates, visit Lions Central.
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. .