Detroit Lions defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike has missed most of training camp, and Dan Campbell’s injury update on Thursday was not encouraging.
The Detroit Lions invested a second-round pick (No. 41 overall) from last year’s draft in defensive tackle Levi Onwuzurike. His rookie season was a disappointment, though he did play 16 games despite a lingering back injury.
A second-year breakthrough seemed to be in the offing for Onwuzurike, as he dove right in to offseason workouts. But he has been absent from most of training camp due to a back and hip injury, and recently Lions’ head coach Dan Campbell all but said he wouldn’t play Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
On Thursday, Campbell was asked about Onwuzurike’s status.
Levi Onwuzurike injury update not encouraging, leaves Lions with a potential tough decision
"It’s hard to say right now,” Campbell said. “I would say there’s no set backs. He’s trending the right way but it’s at a snail’s pace is the best way to say it. He’s doing everything we’re asking him to do, it is getting better. I don’t know, you’re asking me right now, twisting my arm, I would say he’s not available for Philly. That’s me, but we’ll see.”"
Since Onwuzurike was not placed on the PUP list to start camp, he can’t be put on that list now to start the regular season. He could be placed on injured reserve after the final cut down to 53 players on Aug. 30, which seems like the most likely move if he’ll miss Week 1 and probably somewhat beyond anyway.
Or, though the Lions surely don’t want to go all they way there, Onwuzurike could be placed on IR before next Tuesday’s final cuts. Then he’d miss the entire 2022 season. A slow recovery puts this final option on the radar, as dire as it is.