Lions' Cabinda explains reason for lengthy absence after practicing first time this season
Allen Park — After being sidelined all season because of an ankle injury, Detroit Lions fullback Jason Cabinda practiced for the first time on Wednesday, starting a three-week acclimation period before the team would need to add him to the active roster.
"I feel like football can be a love, hate (relationship) sometimes," Cabinda said. "When you're hurting in the middle of the season, toward the end of the season, you can sometimes be ready for it to be over. But when you're out of it, man, we've been playing this game for so long, since we were kids, so when you get that taken away from you, you're going through those injuries, it's really tough. To be able to be back, to have the helmet back on, have the pads back on, it feels good."
After last season, Cabinda was having pain in both ankles. He was diagnosed with bone spurs and underwent what he thought was a simple, arthroscopic procedure to remove them, which would have put him on track to start training camp. Instead, he had an artery nicked, causing a pseudoaneurysm, requiring a second surgery that put him on the shelf much longer.
The converted linebacker, in his third season at the fullback position, played 141 offensive snaps for the Lions last season. He's also been one of the team's top special-teams contributors in recent years, averaging more than 260 snaps with those groups the past two seasons.
"First of all, just his attitude and approach is amazing," running backs coach Duce Staley said last week, when asked what the team has been missing while Cabinda has been sidelined. "Every day, he has the same attitude; he has the same approach when it comes to practice or a game. He brings a lot of juice and energy out there on the field and going out there just being physical. "
Cabinda is eligible to appear in a game as soon as this week, but likely will need some time to get into game shape. He's more than likely on track to debut in the team's Thanksgiving contest against Buffalo on Nov. 24.
"I'd like to be back ASAP, obviously," Cabinda said. "Coach Campbell knows me, I'm a 100-miles-per-hour kind of guy. We're pushing it for sure, but whenever they feel like I'm ready to go, it's that time, it will be that time. We'll be going, hitting it hard."
The Lions' injury report remained extensive the first day of preparation for the team's Week 8 matchup with Green Bay.
Not practicing for the team were offensive tackle Penei Sewell (personal), running back D'Andre Swift (ankle/shoulder), tight end Brock Wright (concussion), cornerback AJ Parker (hip), safety Ifeatu Melifonwu (ankle), offensive tackle Matt Nelson (calf) and Chase Lucas (ankle).
Additionally, defensive end Charles Harris (groin), center Frank Ragnow (foot), wide receiver Josh Reynolds (back) and linebacker Derrick Barnes (knee) were limited.