Linebacker Derrick Barnes looks to be fully healthy at Lions' OTAs

After suffering a knee injury in the NFC Championship Game, Lions linebacker Derrick Barnes looks good to go for OTAs.
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With a first-round pick added at his position, last year was a big one for Lions linebacker Derrick Barnes. He responded, starting 13 of the 16 regular season games he played, with a career-high 81 tackles and five tackles for loss.

In the playoffs, Barnes had a definining moment when he clinched the Divisional Round win over the Buccaneers with a late interception. It was a payoff of the team's patience over his first three seasons

But that euphoria didn't last long into the NFC Championship Game the following week. Barnes suffered a knee injury early against the 49ers, and did not return to the game. After the game, via Kyle Meinke of MLive, Barnes believed he had avoided a torn ACL.

" I think I avoided that for sure,” Barnes said.

Barnes also said how he how hard he tried to come back into the game against the 49ers, but just couldn't get there.

"I tried literally from when I got hurt until there were 2 minutes left in the game to try to get my knee to feel better so I could get back out there,” Barnes said. “It hurts a lot for me, because you see these guys you’ve been busting your ass with, shedding blood, sweating tears, and you see them out there, and you just want to be with them so bad and help them."

Derrick Barnes looks healthy at Lions' OTAs

The Lions started their next phase of OTAs on Tuesday, with how some injured players are progressing in injury recoveries an easy storyline. Media was not on the ground at Allen Park, but the team did release a photo gallery from the first day of work. Along with head coach Dan Campbell being back after an undisclosed absence for personal reasons during rookie minicamp, there was a picture of Barnes in uniform.

The coming season is another big one for Barnes, as he enters the last year of his rookie contract and there are expectations Jack Campbell will be a bigger factor in his second season. Being healthy for the start of OTAs is a notable development, if only because Barnes was the only Lions player with an injury recovery in play who was spotted in that photo gallery.

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