By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah started his NFL career with a bang last season, recording eight sacks and two forced fumbles as a rookie. Whether he will be able to replicate that production in 2014 is uncertain, especially since an injury has kept Ansah from participating in offseason work.
The Lions placed him on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list for training camp, which begins Monday, and head coach Jim Caldwell said there is no timetable on Ansah’s return.
Limited by his injury, Ansah has not gotten to practice the new defense like his teammates have, but Caldwell said that he cannot fret about how far behind Ansah may have fallen.
“I coach who shows up and instruct our staff to do the exact same thing,” Caldwell said Sunday. “I cannot worry about how quickly the Lord allows someone to heal. I got to do our business. At that point in time, when he gets healthy and ready to go, he’ll be ready. Until then, whoever’s out there and lined up is going to get coached and coached hard and ready to go and play for us and win games, so that’s how we look at it. He’s coming along, he’s making great progress, he’s doing everything he can to get there, and I’m sure he will in a reasonable amount of time.
“It’s whenever the Lord says he’s healthy and healed, and the medical staff will take a look at it after the Lord’s decree, and then we’ll see what goes on after that,” Caldwell added.
Other Lions on the PUP list include wide receivers Golden Tate and TJ Jones. Caldwell said the team has seen progress from those two as well as Ansah.
“All three guys, that’s the great thing about young guys – young guys heal fast,” Caldwell said. “You get an old guy like me with a similar injury, and I got a problem. It’s going to take me a while, but those guys recover pretty quickly, and so we’ll monitor it and see how it goes, but the progress has been – we’ve been pleased with at this point.”