The headliner for toughness among Detroit Lions players coming out of the Divisional Round win over the Buccaneers was center Frank Ragnow. Ragnow added a sprained knee and a sprained ankle to his list of ailments after having his rolled up on during the game.
Linebacker Alex Anzalone suffered what was tabbed as a shoulder injury in the second half of the Wild Card Round win over the Rams, only leaving the game briefly. He led the team in tackles with eight (with two tackles for loss).
Anzalone was listed on the injury report last week with shoulder and rib issues. But he carried no injury designation for the game on the Friday injury report, so it was easy to set whatever he is dealing with aside as relatively insignificant.
Then Anzalone played all 64 defensive snaps against Tampa Bay, with six total tackles (including two on third downs to get the Lions' defense off the field). He might not be 100 percent, not that any players truly are full healthy at this point in the season, but whatever he's got going on isn't clearly limiting his workload or impact on the field.
Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone is far more injured than has been previously let on
According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Anzalone suffered three fractured ribs against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 18. That, obviously, means he has played the last two games with the injury and is set to keep doing so in the one or two games the Lions have left this season.
Anzalone was not immediately diagnosed with the rib issue coming out of the regular season finale, and he was not listed on the injury report going into the Rams' game.
Per Birkett, Anzalone is also dealing with a sprained AC joint in his shoulder. Last week head coach Dan Campbell talked about Anzalone's toughness, among among many Lions' players who fit that bill, which takes on a different light now.
"Look, Alex is tough," Campbell said last week. "He’s been through this. And it does, it means a lot. I mean, that’s – that’s really what we’re built off here. And ultimately, it comes down to what the player believes they can do. If they believe they can still produce not being 100 percent, then that’s the difference and we have a ton of guys that are that way.”
Three fractured ribs. A sprained AC joint. After the shoulder injury during the Rams' game Anzalone, knowing he had three fractured ribs, essentially said nothing would stop him from playing. He proved that to be true, even when many people didn't know the extent of (or all the) things he's dealing with.