Lions’ LaAdrian Waddle ruled out; surprisingly, James Ihedigbo is doubtful

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Allen Park — As expected, Lions right tackle LaAdrian Waddle will miss Sunday’s game at Carolina with a calf injury suffered in Week 1, but there was a bit of surprise on Friday’s injury report.

Strong safety James Ihedigbo, who was limited but practiced all week, is doubtful to play, meaning he’ll likely sit for the second straight game due to a neck injury. Ihedigbo said this week he “of course” expected to play Sunday, but he hasn’t been available since the second exhibition game.

The Lions signed Ihedigbo this offseason hoping to find a durable safety after Louis Delmas missing practices the past couple years hurt the chemistry in the defensive backfield.

Instead, Isa Abdul-Quddus is in line to start, as he did in Week 1. But with Don Carey (hamstring) out again, rookie Jerome Couplin will be the top backup.

The expected loss of Ihedigbo makes it more likely that the Lions will promote Nate Ness from the practice squad instead of Mohammed Seisay because Ness can play safety and cornerback. The Lions have a slot open on the 53-man roster and are down a cornerback after losing Bill Bentley (knee) to injured reserve.

The right tackle position remains unsettled. With Waddle out and top backup Corey Hilliard (foot) on injured reserve, the Lions will turn to either undrafted rookie Cornelius Lucas or veteran Garrett Reynolds, whom the team re-signed Wednesday after he was among their final cuts this year.

In practice Friday, Lucas took reps with the starters during the portion of practice open to the media, but coach Jim Caldwell declined to say who the team planned to start in Week 2, though there is a plan in place.

“We’re still looking at it,” he said. “We’ll finalize things after today’s practice. We know where we’re heading. We just want to make certain we don’t have any issues that pop up in this practice.”

Lucas spoke confidently this week about being ready to make his NFL debut. The Lions put Corey Hilliard, their top backup tackle, on injured reserve this week after he suffered a Lisfranc injury replacing Waddle.

Reynolds is in his sixth NFL season, and although he played right tackle in college, most of his NFL experience is at guard.

Running back Reggie Bush (knee) and tight end Brandon Pettigrew (foot) are the other players listed on the injury report, but both are probable and both were full participants the past two practices.