It’s been nearly nine months since we last saw Ezekiel Ansah on the field for the Detroit Lions, but that could all change against the Jaguars on Friday night. We finally got an Ezekiel Ansah injury update, and it looks like he’s all set to see his first action of the season. As the Detroit Lions prepare for their “dress rehearsal” preseason game, Ansah appears closer than ever to returning from his offseason shoulder surgery.
“He’s responded well. We got him in a little bit more scrimmage plays in practice,” Jim Caldwell said via ESPN. “We increased him on a daily basis. Hopefully, we’ll check with the doctors to see after today’s practice where he is, and hopefully he’ll be able to get some snaps.”
Ansah’s injury has been one of the more underrated story lines of the offseason. After only playing 14 games last season and only one year as a starter in college, Ansah is far from a sure thing. He showed flashes last season of why the Lions drafted him fifth overall–racking up eight sacks to lead all rookies–but he was also far from consistent on the field.
For a player that is still developing, it doesn’t help that Ansah missed the entire offseason program because of his injury. He’s slated to play a big role in Teryl Austin’s new defensive system, but getting him healthy is priority number one for the Lions.
“We’d love to see him in game situations, but I think the most important thing is to get him to the regular season,” Austin said after Wednesday’s practice. “We have him in some more practice situations this week, so we were able to ramp him up a little bit and we’ll just keep evaluating to see when it’s best to get him out there and get him going.”
I think all fans are excited to see Ansah back in action, but I like the approach the Lions have taken so far. There’s no use in rushing Ansah back to action only to have him sit out games because he came back too early. At the same time, you can’t replicate getting actual game reps and that’s something he needs badly. The more games Ansah plays in, the better he should get. The Lions are hoping for a big season out of their young pass rusher.