Allen Park — The nature of the short practice week, following a Monday night game, could slow down the potential returns of two of the Detroit Lions defensive players.
Defensive tackle Da'Shawn Hand has yet to appear in a game this season after suffering an elbow injury early in training camp. He's been practicing, in a limited capacity, during the regular season, but still hasn't cleared the final hurdles to return to action.
Coach Matt Patricia provided an explanation on why it's taking Hand to get back.
"I think the thing for us with him, it’s truly day-by-day," Patricia said. "I think one of the holdovers when you miss training camp type of days — where it’s every single day in pads and every single day in that accumulative sort of rep mentality of what I’ll call the violence of the line of scrimmage — you need to practice and be able to show enough stamina to be able to do that down in and down out.
"Sometimes, when you get into the season, that gets spaced out now over a couple of periods of time because the pads are once a week in those situations, and you only really get to see so many opportunities," Patricia continued. "We’re trying to build up those reps as we go through. He’s doing everything he can every single day. He works really hard at it, too. Obviously, with it being a short week for us, and probably not being in pads this week because of the short week it is another hard situation for us, but he’s going to do everything possible to try to go play.”
Another player's return likely to be impacted by the week's lighter practice schedule is rookie Austin Bryant. He landed on injured reserved to start the year after spending training camp with a physically unable to perform list, presumably related to the pectoral injury he had surgically repaired following his senior season at Clemson.
Wednesday marks the first day he's eligible to practice, but Patricia made it sound like the team would rather wait until they have a normal week before starting that clock.
"We’re trying to do everything possible to make sure when we do run that clock or get to that point, I’m listening to the doctors from that standpoint, knowing that there is a certain window here that we’re allowed to take a look at that," Patricia said. "Knowing the schedule that we have coming up, and again being on a short week, it’s a little bit tough for us to kind of see some things from that standpoint."
Technically, Bryant is eligible to play in a game as early as Detroit's Week 10 matchup against Chicago. Once he starts practicing, the Lions have 21 days to make a decision about whether to add him to the active roster or keep him on IR, ending his season.
Due to the short week, the Lions converted their standard Wednesday practice into a walk-through. That resulted in the day's injury report being projected.
There were two new injuries from the previous week's report. Right tackle Rick Wagner (knee) and tight end Logan Thomas (shoulder) were both projected to be limited.