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Lions' Ansah 'sad' about latest injury, hopes to play vs. 49ers

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Ziggy Ansah, left, recorded four tackles, including a sack, in the season opener before leaving the game with a shoulder injury.

Allen Park — When he’s healthy, Ziggy Ansah is a game-changer for the Detroit Lions defense. Unfortunately, Ansah has rarely found himself in good health the past two seasons.

The hope was things would be different this year for the 29-year-old defensive end. He missed time in training camp, with a minor muscle strain, but entered the season drawing rave reviews from his coaches and teammates.

It lasted all of a quarter.

After recording a sack, and helping a teammate net a second, Ansah suffered a shoulder injury against the New York Jets on Monday. He left the game in the second quarter and wasn’t able to return.

The good news is testing showed he avoided serious injury.

More: Lions bracing for 49ers' aggressive pre- and post-snap motions

Ansah returned to practice this week in a limited capacity. He’s questionable for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers and said he was optimistic about his chances of playing. But battling another early season injury is frustrating.

“I’d just like to be out there fighting with my brothers,” Ansah said. “It’s just, it’s sad. It’s sad to be going through this and not being able to be out there, helping them win.”

As a younger player, Ansah said the injuries affected him more mentally. Now, he does a better job accepting the things out of his control, while focusing on doing whatever he can to get back on the field.

“It doesn’t matter what people say,” Ansah said. “If anything happens, I go to the training room and my trainers get me right. …This is not the first time, you know? I’ve matured. I’ve grown and I know how to deal with it. I’m just glad it’s nothing crazy.”

The Lions looked like they were fielding a different defense with Ansah sidelined. They didn’t record another sack, rarely put pressure on the quarterback and struggled to stop the run.

“Obviously, I think any time you have a player of Ziggy’s caliber, a pass rusher of Ziggy’s caliber, that certainly is going to impact the game,” defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni said.



Lions at 49ers

Kickoff: 4 p.m. Sunday, Levi’s Stadium, San Francisco

TV/radio: Fox/760

Records: Both teams are 0-1

Line: 49ers by 6