A toe injury limited Lions center Frank Ragnow to four games in 2021. A new injury to same toe cost him just one game last season, as he played through it on his way to his second career Pro Bowl nod. Imagine if he had two fully functioning feet, and wasn't basically best friends with the team's training staff due to all the time he spent with them during the week.
Speaking back in May at his charity skeet shooting event, Ragnow maintained great optimism about continuing to play, and play at a high level, with his toe issue. However, via Dave Birkett of The Detroit Free Press, he used a word that raised eyebrows.
"It’s a deal where it’s kind of inoperable, so it’s kind of something that we’re trying to navigate" Manage. But hopefully, its not going to be near to the altitude of last year where it was like brutal.""- Frank Ragnow
Inoperable automatically has a negative connotation, as it should. Ragnow also said there was "no healthy tissue" left in the injured toe, so any surgery will be an "experimental procedure" that's "not something NFL O-lineman are in the business of."
Speaking after Tuesday's practice, Ragnow took the opportunity to correct his previous comments.
Frank Ragnow circles back to downplay the significance of his toe issue
Here's what Ragnow had to say about his toe issue, via Ben Raven of MLive.
"I’m feeling pretty good, man. I know I let this slip this offseason where I said ‘inoperable’ and just kind of maybe got a little bit blown out of the water,” Ragnow said. “I’m feeling really good. Right now, I’m in a good space, mentally especially, and I’m feeling really good out there.
“Time off, man. These guys have been -- everybody’s been, it’s been a whole ... It’s been a group effort, and everybody’s been working to make sure that this freakin’ big toe is in the best possible (shape) it can be.”"
Ragnow looks to be in pretty good shape, as he added he feels his confidence has never been higher.
The Lions have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Ragnow is the literal centerpiece of it, and the drop-off from him to whoever would replace him if he missed time could be incredibly steep. His health, or availability more precisely, is as critical to the Lions' success this season as anyone's.