Lions have long injury list; Van Noy not improving
Allen Park — Robert Griffin III's injury made the most headlines after Thursday's exhibition game, but plenty of Lions players are in recovery after the contest in Washington.
Nine players — not including the two on injured lists — missed Sunday's hour-long practice session, and at least one of them sounds potentially serious.
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy, a second-round pick in 2014, sat practice Friday and Sunday, but has been dealing with an undisclosed injury since before the second exhibition game last week.
"He's really getting kind of checked out," coach Jim Caldwell said. "He's had a bit of an injury that sort of occurred about a week ago or so and is just increasingly getting a little bit worse. So, he's getting looked at closely.
"He's got some issues."
In addition to Van Noy, defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, tight end Eric Ebron, guard Larry Warford, defensive tackle Caraun Reid, linebacker Kevin Snyder, safety Isa Abdul-Quddus, cornerback Crezdon Butler and wide receiver Lance Moore missed practice. Moore had a baby girl last week, but the other players are dealing with injuries.
Van Noy missed the first eight games of his rookie year after undergoing core muscle surgery in August, and while Caldwell wouldn't specify his current injury, he said it's different than Van Noy's sports hernia last year.
During training camp and the first two exhibitions, Van Noy has not looked like the player he was at BYU. He's a step slower than the five linebackers ahead of him on the depth chart, and his pass coverage instincts have been unimpressive. Though it wouldn't explain everything, Van Noy's injury could provide some insight into his recent struggles.
Van Noy's college teammate, defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, has also missed the last two practices, and even though his injury doesn't sound as serious, Caldwell didn't indicate Ansah will return immediately. Ansah left the team facility Friday with a wrap on his right ankle.
"He's got a little bit of a nagging injury, but I think he's going to be OK," Caldwell said of Ansah. "Any time anybody's got any sort of injury, you're concerned about it ... but he's in good hands (with the doctors) and they'll get him ready as quickly as he responds."
Caldwell said Ebron and Abdul-Quddus are dealing with injuries that will likely take a "short period of time" to recover. Reid and Warford suffered high-ankle sprains Thursday, and Snyder left the game with a hand injury.
With defensive end Jason Jones (knee) and offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle (knee) activated from the physically unable to perform list Sunday, Joique Bell is the only player remaining on PUP.
"He's really getting closer and he's been doing his field work and making really, really good progress, so we'll see," Caldwell said of the running back.
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata remains on the non-football injury list with a hamstring injury. After saying two weeks ago Ngata would be back before Week 1, Caldwell softened his stance a bit Sunday.
"I can't predict that," he said of when Ngata would return. "It's just one of those things we have to kind of see where they. We're hopeful. We look at how he's been performing and going through in terms of his rehab, and we're optimistic."