With the 2015 season set to kickoff, the Detroit Lions are already dealing with a bit of an injury bug on the right side of their offensive line.
With right guard Larry Warford expected to miss Sunday’s game against the San Deigo Chargers, there is also doubt at right tackle, where third-year pro LaAdrian Waddle would start if healthy.
The problem is, Waddle may not be ready to go on Sunday.
“I don’t know right now. I probably won’t know until game day to be honest,” Waddle told Lionsreport.com. “I think it’s something we’re just going to see how the week goes and later in the week, evaluate where I am. If I feel like I’m ready to go, I’m going to go. If things aren’t fantastic or if something don’t feel right we might not go this week, maybe next week.”
Waddle is officially listed with an elbow injury despite missing the majority of the offseason program and training camp due to his recovery from a partially torn ACL in his left knee back in December. Waddle was banged up most of last season, also suffering from brain, calf and ankle injuries.
Entering his third-year, Waddle hasn’t had much success staying on the field but the Lions are confident in him as their starter when he is available.’
“He’s been the starter and when he’s started he’s played excellent,” said offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. “We really think highly of him. Specifically, I don’t want to get into the exact specifics.”
If Waddle can’t go, the Lions will turn to second-year pro Cornelius Lucas. Lucas started three preseason games at right tackle – playing a total of 70 snaps. He didn’t exactly set the world on fire, allowing a hurry and a hit while faltering as a run blocker at times.
Lucas played a total of 526 snaps in 2014 as well - all as an injury replacement - and seemed to look more comfortable at left tackle (namely in his second start against Chicago). He allowed a total of six sacks, four hits and 17 hurries in his 13 appearances.
Waddle has fought back through a long rehab process and does appear close to returning
“It was definitely a long process. Something that you want to speed things up but you can only do so much, depending on where we were in the rehab process,” said Waddle. “Everything went smoothly, if it didn’t, I wouldn’t even be practicing right now. Right now, we’re out there, we’re up’ing it. Now, we’re trying to get ready for games, as far as getting some plays with the offense, getting the calls down, getting more reps out there – actual reps against other guys.”
Waddle’s official status won’t be available until Friday’s injury report is released, however he seems to be questionable at best currently.