Allen Park — Although the Lions think linebacker Kyle Van Noy's most recent injury could hold him out several weeks, he said Saturday he doesn't expect to begin 2015 on injured reserve with designation to return, the same list he was on to start his rookie year that held him out eight games.
"Oh, I don't think it'll cost me a half a season," he said of the injury. "That's for sure."
Van Noy, who said he feels "a lot better" now than a week ago, deferred to Caldwell on questions about the specifics of his injury. Caldwell has declined to say exactly what is ailing Van Noy, but the team thinks it’s unrelated to his two surgeries the past 12 months, one to repair a core muscle last August and another on his hip shortly after the season.
A 2014 second-round pick, Van Noy struggled in the first two preseason games before Caldwell revealed last Sunday that he'd been dealing with the injury for about a week. By Wednesday, Caldwell said the 24-year-old had already shown improvement.
"There's no surgery mentioned or anything of that nature, and they think it can heal with time, and even the rest of the last three days has made him feel a lot better," Caldwell said earlier this week. "So, hopefully he'll get through it and be able to work for us."
Unfortunately, another physical setback will affect Van Noy's transition into the Lions' defense, where he's working to learn the strong-side linebacker spot after playing a hybrid linebacker-defensive end role in BYU's 3-4 defense.
Before injury held him out of practice this week, Van Noy thought he'd shown improvement but "wasn't really extremely happy" with his play. He thinks being at practice taking mental reps will help him avoid falling behind any more.
But, even when Van Noy does return, it likely would take a few injuries elsewhere for him to have a considerable role on defense as the Lions are deep with talented linebackers.
"I feel like I've grown tremendously, just being able to step in and make plays at a whole different position at the highest level," he said. "I think I'm doing all right."