Allen Park — The Detroit Lions defensive line has fallen well short of preseason expectations, but the unit may be getting some reinforcements this week in the form of Mike Daniels.
The veteran, signed in training camp after he was unexpected released by the Green Bay Packers, has been sidelined with a foot injury since Week 3. Speaking to the media for the first time since suffering that injury, Daniels might have let the cat out of the bag regarding his return to action.
"I mean, it’s all part of God’s plan, so I can’t get too upset about it, too angry about it," Daniels said Friday when asked about how frustrating the injury has been. "Just got to keep doing what I’m doing, and I’m looking forward to getting some work this weekend."
It's safe to assume he's not talking about raking leaves. It's more likely he'll be taking the field when the Lions travel to Chicago to play the Bears on Sunday.
This is the second consecutive season Daniels has been sidelined for a long period of time by a foot injury. He missed the final six games last season with the Packers and has been out for the past five games with the Lions.
Yet he's managed to keep a positive outlook, both about his short-term and long-term future. Because it was different feet that were hurt, he's not concerned about it being a recurring issue that will continue to impact his career.
He's also encouraged this rehab went quicker than last year. Finally, fully embracing the glass-half-full attitude, Daniels said the previous injury ended up being a net positive, because it led him to Detroit.
"I got hurt last year and that led to a chain of events that led me here and I'm playing for a coach that I really like, with a bunch of guys that respect me and I respect them," Daniels said. "It looks tough in the beginning, but you never know what God has in store for you. I had that mindset. This year, I was like, 'Man, this sucks.' But I had to remind myself the last injury brought about a lot of good, so just keep pushing, keep working hard and see what the result is."
Whether Daniels returns this week, or it gets delayed a little while longer, he'll be looking to make up for lost time, seeking to justify the $9.1 million contract the Lions gave him this offseason.
"If you don't have that feeling, you're not a competitor," Daniels said. "Any player that has had to miss any amount of time, whether it's just one game, a quarter, even a series from injury, they have that feeling, 'OK, when I get back out here, I've got to get rolling.'"
While Daniels might be on the comeback trail, the Lions will be without Da'Shawn Hand this week. He missed the first six games with an elbow injury and is now battling an ankle sprain he suffered last weekend against Oakland.
In addition to Hand, the Lions also ruled out safety Tracy Walker (knee) and safety Miles Killebrew (concussion).
Daniels is one of seven players listed as questionable for the contest. Joining him with that designation are quarterback Matthew Stafford, defensive tackles A'Shawn Robinson and Damon Harrison, guards Joe Dahl and Graham Glasgow, defensive end Romeo Okwara and punter Sam Martin.
Stafford is a near lock to play. It will mark his 137th consecutive start.
Running back Tra Carson, who started one game for the Lions, was released off injured reserve on Friday.
After Kerryon Johnson was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury, Carson got the start against the New York Giants, carrying the ball 12 times for 34 yards. He suffered a hamstring injury in practice the following week, landing him on IR.
Lions at Bears
Kickoff: 1 p.m. Sunday, Soldier Field, Chicago
TV/radio: CBS/760 AM
Records: Lions 3-4-1, Bears 3-5
Line: Bears by 2