Injuries are an unavoidable part of football. The risk can be reduced in training camp, but that rests with players to some extent. On Monday, tight end Shane Zylstra suffered a major knee injury during practice on a low hit from cornerback Khalil Dorsey.
Zylstra's 2023 season is likely over, if a reported sixth month recovery time holds true. The Lions waived him with an injury designation on Tuesday. He's sure to go unclaimed, and revert back to the Lions' injured reserve list.
Reporters on site reflected how iffy Dorsey's hit on Zylstra looked. Dorsey apparently had a bad play prior to that, then came the play where Zylstra was injured.
Dorsey is a fringe player on the Lions' 90-man roster, with virtually no shot at making the 53-man roster going into the season. Being wanted back on the practice when the time comes seems like a coin-flip. It was fair to wonder how his low hit on Zylstra, apparently helmet to the knee area, landed with the Lions' coaches. And it was easy to also assume it didn't land well.
Well, come Wednesday morning we didn't have to wonder or assume anymore.
Dan Campbell makes his frustration with how Shane Zylstra was injured abundantly clear
Head coach Dan Campbell addressed Zylstra's situation before Wednesday's practice, before getting into the offending play.
"Honestly, it shouldn’t have happened," Campbell said. "No, we’re not OK with that, and it’s been addressed. So these things happen, the physicality of the game, the pads, but that was preventable. That’s not what we do. And believe me, Khalil feels awful, too. We get that, but we got to take care of each other. We still have to be physical, we got to work each, we got to compete, but we still have to take care of each other. So that was, we talked about it, and we move on.""- Dan Campbell, via the Detroit Free Press
Part of addressing the play Zylstra was injured on could have easily been, and arguably should have been, Dorsey being let go--to make room for a tight end to replace the injured Zylstra on the roster would have been especially appropriate.
But that's not how this organization is wired right now. So Dorsey will get to keep competing for a roster spot, before he's (at the latest) eventually part of the Lions' cutdown to 53 before Week 1.