Injuries Taking Toll On Lions

There's the old saying about luck that seems to apply perfectly to the Lions. If it wasn't for bad luck, they'd have no luck at all. Just when they seemed to be warming up -- with their first two-game winning streak in three years -- the Lions got whacked with another batch of injuries, before they had even recovered from the last batch.

There's the old saying about luck that seems to apply perfectly to the Lions. If it wasn't for bad luck, they'd have no luck at all.

Just when they seemed to be warming up -- with their first two-game winning streak in three years -- the Lions got whacked with another batch of injuries, before they had even recovered from the last batch.

And, as it turned out, their two-game winning streak effectively took them out of the competition for former Cleveland wide receiver Kevin Johnson when he hit the waiver wire Wednesday.

The 2-7 Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the five teams that had a shot at claiming Johnson ahead of the 3-6 Lions and were awarded Johnson.

"I spoke to (Browns president/CEO) Carmen Policy last night and Matt spoke to Butch Davis," head coach Steve Mariucci said, regarding the team's interest in Johnson..

"He's been a starter, he's been a very good player for them and they have their own reasons (for releasing Johnson) but a lot of good things were said.

"It's something you need to look at. A team like us, we're trying to improve our roster any way we can, whenever we can."

But the fresh injuries might be even more damaging than missing out on Johnson. Here's the breakdown, going into their game Sunday at Seattle against the 6-3 Seahawks.

Wide receiver Shawn Jefferson (knee) and rookie cornerback Rod Babers (shoulder) are out for the remaining seven games of the season. They were put on injured reserve two days after being injured in the 12-10 win against Chicago.

Rookie linebacker James Davis, who had progressed rapidly in the past month, will not play because of a shoulder separation suffered against the Bears.

Rookie linebacker Boss Bailey, who has started every game this season and might have been the Lions best player in the last two, has a shoulder injury and will miss most of the week's practice, but has a chance to play at Seattle.

Cornerback Dre' Bly, who missed the last two games with a strained hamstring, is easing his way back into practice and coach Steve Mariucci is hoping against hope he will have Bly back for the Seahawks game.

And that list doesn't even include the minor stuff -- tooth extractions, sprained elbows and sore chests -- or two of the Lions most productive offensive players -- wide receiver Charles Rogers and kick returner Eddie Drummond.

Rogers suffered a broken collarbone in a bye week practice Oct. 7 and it appears unlikely he will play again until the Dec. 7 game against San Diego; Drummond hasn't played since suffering a high ankle sprain Sept. 21 against Minnesota and is getting close. There is a chance he'll play against the Seahawks.

"I am concerned about it because of the long list of injured guys that won't be able to go into a padded practice anyway," Mariucci said. "For example, if you go in pads and run your nine-on-seven, then you can take out Boss Bailey and Jeff Backus and this guy and that guy. Or do you just go in shorts and let everybody participate? That's the tradeoff there.

"I've been on teams that didn't put a pad on the whole year and I've been on teams that padded up Wednesdays and Thursdays all year. You've got to make adjustments according to the health of your team."

All things considered, it's little wonder the Lions will go to Seattle as 10-point underdogs.

BY THE NUMBERS: 16 -- The number of games since the Lions have had a 100-yard rushing game or receiving game. The last time they had one of either was Nov. 10, 2002, when James Stewart gained 122 on 15 carries and Az-Zahir Hakim caught seven passes for 143 in a 40-14 loss at Green Bay.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's not where you start, it's where you finish. We're developing, we're building something good here." -- Coach Steve Mariucci, borrowing a line from his Lincoln-Mercy commercial shown in the Detroit area, to describe the Lions building process.


Lions Report Top Stories