By: Will Burchfield
With the potential loss of one offensive lineman for the Lions comes the likely return of another.
A day after announcing that T.J. Lang has been placed in the concussion protocol, Jim Caldwell said on Friday that left tackle Taylor Decker is “close” to making his season debut.
Decker returned to practice last week about five months after undergoing surgery for a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
“He’s doing well. He’s been working and we’re trying to simulate game-like situations as much as we can. He’s been doing those things well. He’s got another day of work today,” said Caldwell. “We’ll see. He’s close.”
The chances of Decker playing on Sunday versus the Browns hinge largely on how he feels on Saturday after a week of practice. The Lions have to decide by 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon whether to activate him from the physically unable to perform list.
“We’ll go through our regular practice like we normally do on Fridays and see how we progresses, how he feels. Usually the day after is the most important thing. It won’t be today right after practice is over with, in terms of evaluation. It’s always the day after,” Caldwell said.
Decker, a member of the All-Rookie team last season, returned to practice last Wednesday and hasn’t missed one since. That would suggest he’s responded well to the physical activity.
“We don’t talk about those kinds of situations, but you can imagine anytime you come back from anything it’s not going to be absolutely perfect,” said Caldwell. “There’s a process to it all, so he’s in that boat.”
The Lions waived injured left tackle Greg Robinson on Friday, opening up a potential spot for Decker on the 53-man roster. Per NFL rules, they must decide whether to activate Decker or place him on season-ending injured reserve three weeks from the date of his return to practice.
Lang, whose concussion symptoms surfaced on Wednesday, did not take part in Friday’s practice and is expected to miss Sunday’s game. Emmett Clearly will likely start in his place.