Allen Park — The weekend got off to a rotten start for the Detroit Lions. In Friday's preseason loss to the Buffalo Bills, not one, but two of the team's key starters left the game with serious-looking leg injuries.
But the a day later, fears were dialed back a few notches when Lions coach Matt Patricia, during a conference call with reporters, said the severity of the leg injuries suffered by linebacker Jarrad Davis and center Frank Ragnow were not of the season-ending variety.
"I would say, in regards to Frank and JD, obviously two guys that had some injuries last night, just to let everybody know, these injuries are not season-ending," Patricia said. "They’ll be healing day-by-day. We’re still evaluating where they’ll be at. The one great thing about these two guys is they have tremendous work ethic and we know they’ll be working as hard as they can to get back as soon as possible."
Patricia didn't elaborate on the nature of the injuries, and sticking with a personal philosophy, he declined to put a time table on how soon either players could be back.
"I would say any time you have something like this, we don’t try to put a timetable on it because it just puts an unnecessary target on the situation," Patricia said. "Every injury, every person is different."
One thing Patricia did acknowledge is both players are expected to avoid injured reserve. A player placed on IR at the start of the season wouldn't be eligible to return until Week 9 of the regular season.
Patricia further noted neither Davis or Ragnow will play in the fourth preseason game, this Thursday in Cleveland, although it can be safely assumed both would have been held out of action even had they been healthy.
Ragnow, who left the game in the second quarter after he was rolled up on by Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson. According to an NFL Network report, Ragnow suffered only a minor ankle sprain.
A first-round draft pick out of Arkansas last year, Ragnow is transitioning to center after playing his rookie season at guard. He missed just one snap in 2018, when his shoe broke apart during a play and he needed to head to the bench to get a replacement.
The injury Ragnow suffered on Friday was to his right ankle. In 2017, he missed the final five games of his senior season at Arkansas with a high sprain to his left ankle.
If Ragnow's injury carries into the regular season, Graham Glasgow would shift back to center, with Joe Dahl and Kenny Wiggins the most likely candidates to man the two guard spots.
As for Davis, his injury initially appeared the more severe of the two. After teammate Devon Kennard fell into the back of Davis, he struggled to support any weight on his right leg and required the assistance of two trainers to get back to the sideline. After an brief evaluation, he was carted to the locker room for more extensive testing.
Davis appeared in all 16 games last season and played a team-high 976 defensive snaps. If he's not cleared to play in Detroit's Week 1 matchup in Arizona, rookie Jahlani Tavai and preseason standout Jalen Reeves-Maybin would be asked to shoulder a bigger workload.