Nevin Lawson has surgery on foot, dealing Lions secondary another blow

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Charlotte, N.C. — Lions rookie cornerback Nevin Lawson suffered a dislocated foot in Sunday’s 24-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers and was rushed to a local hospital for surgery.

A fourth-round pick, Lawson suffered the injury while blocking on a punt return in the third quarter, and medical crews had to cart him off the field.

“He’s actually in surgery as we speak,” coach Jim Caldwell said after the game. “We’re praying for the young man, but he’s in good hands right now. They’re operating on him right now, so we’ll see what the prognosis is after they finish.”

Caldwell said it’s too early to say if Lawson will miss the rest of the season, but called it a “pretty significant injury.”

Lawson’s injury is another brutal blow to the Lions’ depleted secondary. Cornerback Bill Bentley, the top nickel option, suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in last week’s game and was placed on injured reserve. Safeties James Ihedigbo (neck) and Don Carey (hamstring) both missed the first two games.

Lawson started as the third cornerback Sunday at Carolina, but veteran Cassius Vaughn took over those duties in the first half.

Most of Vaughn’s NFL experience is on the outside, so the Lions could continue to search for another nickel option this week.

The Lions already have worked out several defensive backs since the exhibition season ended. They promoted Nate Ness, who plays safety and cornerback, from the practice squad to the active roster Sunday. Mohammed Seisay, an undrafted rookie cornerback, could be an option in Week 3 if the Lions don’t find any free agents they like, but the 6-foot-1 Seisay is a better fit to play outside.

Panthers’ Hardy deactivated

Panthers coach Ron Rivera chose Sunday morning to deactive defensive end Greg Hardy for the game. Hardy was convicted of assaulting an ex-girlfriend, though he’s appealing his sentence in court in November.

“It was my decision because it was in the best interest of the Carolina Panthers,” said Rivera, who in the days leading up the game said Hardy would play.

Pressure from the public surely played a role in the Panthers’ decision. The Ravens cut Ray Rice last week after video surfaced of him punching his then-fiancee in the face, and the Vikings deactivated running back Adrian Peterson amid charges of child abuse against his 4-year-old son.

On June 15, Hardy, who was a Pro Bowler in 2013 with 15 sacks, was convicted of assaulting a female and communicating threats for an incident in May.

“He was just one less guy we had to worry about,” Lions left guard Rob Sims said.

Rivera said he had discussions with general manager Dave Gettleman and owner Jerry Richardson before ultimately making the decision.

“This is a very difficult situation that the league is dealing with right now,” Rivera said. “Teams are dealing with this, and we are doing the best we can. We are not infallible. We make mistakes. The decision I made today was based on all the information I tried to get.”

Extra points

… Safeties James Ihedigbo and Don Carey, right tackle LaAdrian Waddle, quarterback Kellen Moore, defensive end Larry Webster and wide receivers Ryan Broyles and Kevin Ogletree were all inactive for the Lions.

… In addition to Hardy, running back DeAngelo Williams, quarterback Joe Webb, safety Tre Boston, offensive tackle Garry Williams, linebacker Jason Williams and guard Andrew Norwell were inactive for the Panthers.

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By the numbers

108 — Consecutive games with a reception for Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, breaking the tie with Herman Moore for the franchise record. Johnson finished with six catches for 83 yards.

50 — Consecutive starts for Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.

150 — Appearance for long snapper Don Muhlbach, the 20th Lions player to reach that mark.

8 — Career touchdown for fullback Jed Collins.

3 — Turnovers for the Lions, after having no turnovers in the season opener.