Rookie LB Jahlani Tavai (shoulder) is Lions' 16th player on injured reserve

By Matt Schoch
The Detroit News

Allen Park -- Add rookie linebacker Jahlani Tavai to the list of Lions whose season ended early, as the team placed him on injured reserve on Monday. He is the 16th Lions player to go on injured reserve this season.

The second-round pick injured his shoulder making a tackle in Sunday’s 27-17 loss at Denver.

Jahlani Tavai

It was the same shoulder that ended Tavai's senior season early at Hawaii and required late-season surgery, Lions coach Matt Patricia said Monday.

Patricia said he did not know how much the injury would impact the offseason workout program from the linebacker.

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Tavai’s rookie season ends with 58 combined tackles, 2.0 sacks and one interception.

Tavai joins fullback Nick Bawden, guard Joe Dahl, defensive tackle Mike Daniels, linebacker Jarrad Davis, quarterback Jeff Driskel, wide receiver Marvin Hall, defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand, tight end T.J. Hockenson, linebacker Christian Jones, wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, defensive tackle Darius Kilgo, quarterback Matthew Stafford, defensive tackle Kevin Strong and guard Kenny Wiggins on injured reserve.

There was no immediate word on how the Lions will replace Tavai on the 53-man roster, but one candidate is Birmingham's Anthony Pittman, an undrafted rookie out of Wayne State on the practice squad.

The linebacker has been released twice and re-acquired by the Lions, and he said Monday he'd welcome the opportunity and will prepare for it like always.

"I'm just taking it like another week," Pittman said. "Every week I go into meetings and I'm preparing like I'm going to play. If it happens, then I'll be ready for it. So, we'll see."

If Pittman gets into game action, he would be the first player born in Michigan to play for the Lions this season, extending the streak of a homegrown player suiting up every year since the team moved from Portsmouth, Ohio, in 1934.

Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.