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Detroit’s Offensive Line Could Be Shorthanded Against Cowboys

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By Chris Morgan

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 20: Wide receiver Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions celebrates after catching a touchdown pass during the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ford Field on October 20, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The Bengals defeated the Lions 27-24. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

(Credit, Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Lions have one more game to get to until they reach the halfway point of their season, as well as their bye. This week, they host the Dallas Cowboys in what is a big game in terms of the NFC playoff picture. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson showed last week against the Bengals that he is back to being healthy with a huge game. However, another key offensive player suffered an injury in that game, and his absence could be potentially quite damaging to Detroit’s chances against Dallas.

Speaking of Johnson, he missed Wednesday’s practice with his lingering knee issue, but he is still considered probable for Sunday’s game. This is just a key player who doesn’t exactly need to practice getting some rest. There is no reason for concern here at this moment. Tight end Tony Scheffler shall no longer be appearing on Detroit’s injury report, because they cut him to sign offensive tackle Barry Richardson. Why did the Lions sign an offensive tackle? Because of some other offensive injury issues they are having.

Both offensive tackle Riley Reiff and offensive tackle Corey Hilliard sat out of practice Wednesday with hamstring injuries. Both players left the Cincinnati game, although Reiff was able to return. These have been Detroit’s starting offensive tackles for much of this season. Offensive tackle Jason Fox did return to practice after being out for a few weeks with a knee injury, but he is oft injured. His health cannot be relied upon.

The Cowboys have dealt with serious injuries on their defensive line, but not having your starting tackles on your offensive line is a major issue. Both Reiff and Hilliard are considered questionable. Fox and LaAdrian Waddle will play if those two cannot go. Reiff seems more likely to be able to play given, the fact he did return against the Bengals, but nothing is guaranteed.

On defense, both safety Louis Delmas and cornerback Rashean Mathis have been dealing with injuries. Of course, we are talking about the same knee issue that Delmas has played through all season. He missed Wednesday’s practice, as usual, but expect him to play. Mathis has a groin injury, but he was able to practice, so he seems likely to play as well.

Detroit’s only injury questions this week seem to be Reiff and Hilliard. They just happen to be key players as well. Even though both had injuries against the Bengals, the Lions did not give up a sack to a good pass rushing team. Still, that is not a risk the Lions want to have to deal with. Keeping Matthew Stafford upright and giving Reggie Bush running lanes are integral to Detroit’s hopes of earning their fifth win of the season.

Probable:

  • Safety Louis Delmas (knee)
  • Wide receiver Calvin Johnson (knee)
  • Cornerback Rashean Mathis (groin)

Questionable:

  • Offensive tackle Jason Fox (knee)
  • Offensive tackle Corey Hilliard (hamstring)
  • Offensive tackle Riley Reiff (hamstring)

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. .

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