Indianapolis — The Detroit Lions suffered a devastating blow in Sunday’s exhibition victory over the Colts, likely losing defensive end Kerry Hyder to a season-ending Achilles injury.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell wasn’t prepared to offer a definitive prognosis, only acknowledging the injury looked serious.
Hyder went down in the first quarter and team trainers tended to his left leg. He wasn’t able to support any weight on the leg as he was loaded on to a cart and driven to the locker room for further evaluation.
Even though the Lions cruised to an easy win, the injury puts a damper on an otherwise good day for the team.
“He’s an awesome teammate and a better person,” teammates Anthony Zettel said. “To see a guy like that go down, it makes you sick to your stomach.”
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Hyder led the Lions with 8.5 sacks last season and had been projected as a starter. His injury is the latest blow to a banged-up defensive line and further emphasizes the question of where the team’s pass rush will come from this season.
Ziggy Ansah remains on the physically unable to perform list with an undisclosed injury and Cornelius Washington and Armonty Bryant have missed most of training camp and were inactive against the Colts. And even when he gets healthy, Bryant is suspended for the first four games of the season after violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Already facing increased expectations entering his second season, that puts even more weight on Zettel’s shoulders to fill the void.
“I’m not going to overload myself to where I’m thinking too much and taking me out of what I’ve been doing,” Zettel said. “But I know I have a bigger role, and I just want to play for these guys and play for Kerry because they would do it for me.”
Detroit also has three, unheralded rookie edge rushers who have an opportunity to step up. Seventh-round draft pick Pat O’Connor and undrafted free agents Jeremiah Valoaga and Alex Barrett each recorded a sack in the win over the Colts.
“They functioned pretty well today, made some plays,” Jim Caldwell said. “They have promise and did some good things today.”