No restrictions for Lions' Okudah; rookie Paschal dealing with sports hernia
Allen Park — For the most part, the Detroit Lions are in good health entering training camp. There are a few lingering injuries from last season — namely defensive end Romeo Okwara's still-healing Achilles and rookie receiver Jameson Williams' ACL — but coach Dan Campbell raved about his team's conditioning as the roster returned to town after its five-week summer break.
"I was real proud of our guys," Campbell said. "When they come back and they weigh in and they test, conditioning test, that pretty much tells you what their commitment was, how serious they were over the summer. Our guys were outstanding. It was outstanding. Everybody made weigh-in and we had all but one guy who passed the conditioning test and that's a guy who just started running a week ago that didn't make it. That's a credit to our guys. They look good, they're in shape and they look ready to go."
One guy who is champing at the bit is third-year cornerback Jeff Okudah. The former first-round pick essentially missed all of last season after tearing his Achilles in the season opener. But entering camp, he was able to avoid the physically unable to perform list.
"This was actually one of my goals I set, to get out here and be able to compete with everyone the first day back for training camp," Okudah said. "I just took it slow during OTAs with the goal of being out here for the first day, ready to go."
Officially cleared, Campbell said he doesn't expect Okudah to have any limitations as the team prepares for the upcoming season.
"Listen, he's committed and he's in a good place right now," Campbell said. "We're going to get him some reps out there today, and, man, if he looks good today he's getting even more tomorrow. And if he looks good then, then Day 3 he's getting (more). For the most part, we aren't really putting restrictions on him. He's been good."
Okwara, who tore his Achilles less than a month after Okudah, isn't in the same place with his rehab and will start on the PUP list, but Campbell remains encouraged by the edge rusher's progress.
"Romeo is doing well, but as you guys know, the Achilles, everybody heals a little differently, at different rates," Campbell said. "He's progressing. He's on that trajectory, but it's just not as steep."
Joining Okwara on PUP is rookie defensive lineman Josh Paschal, who also missed time in June with what Campbell had previously labeled a lower extremity injury. On Monday, the coach clarified, saying Paschal has a sports hernia that will keep him sidelined a while longer.
The Lions announced a few more players will be sidelined for the start of camp. Two of the teams top special teams contributors, fullback Jason Cabinda and safety C.J. Moore will begin on the physical unable to perform and non-football injury lists, respectively. Meanwhile, backup offensive tackle Dan Skipper is out with a non-football illness.