By Ashley Scoby
@AshleyScoby

If you’ve listened to Lions head coach Jim Caldwell even once in the past two months, you’ve probably heard him say “no excuses.” But in reality, there are a few excuses ready-made: According to ESPN’s recent rankings, Detroit is the 13th most-injured team in the league.

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For the list, ESPN looked at how many players on the team were out for the season, as well as how many total starts have been missed. Starting linebacker DeAndre Levy missed most of the preseason, as well as the first four games of the regular season, before re-injuring his ailing hip in Week 5. He went under the knife that week, according to Caldwell, and is now out for another extended amount of time.

The running back corps has been especially banged up. Joique Bell, who missed the entire preseason with a knee injury, returned to the field, but injured his ankle against the Broncos and has been out ever since. Rookie Zach Zenner went to injured reserve this week, after he cracked multiple ribs Sunday against the Bears and went to the hospital with a partially collapsed lung.

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Defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker broke his leg and dislocated his ankle, and several others along the defensive line have dealt with their own injuries (Haloti Ngata with a calf injury, Caraun Reid with an ankle injury and Ezekiel Ansah with back/groin injuries).

According to ESPN’s list, there have been 36 total starts missed on the team, proactively including the 12 that Walker will miss the rest of the season.

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And the Lions are actually in better shape that some of their division rivals. Green Bay ranked as the most banged up team in the league, with four players out for the season (wide receiver Jordy Nelson, linebacker Sam Barrington, defensive end Josh Boyd and safety Sean Richardson). The Bears are the third-most-injured team, and Minnesota barely slid in behind the Lions, at No. 15.