Lions Notebook: Injuries affect run game

Injuries to the starting running back core leaves rookie Brian Calhoun and recently signed (and rusty) Arlen Harris as the only completely healthy backs on the team as the Lions begin preparations for their game Sunday against the New York Jets. Player notes and more inside.

ALLEN PARK -- The Lions' running game is hurting. Literally.

Running back Kevin Jones, who is coming off his first 100-yard rushing game in two seasons, has a hip pointer.

Fullback Cory Schlesinger, the seemingly indestructible lead blocker, has a strained hamstring.

Shawn Bryson, the backup to both Jones and Schlesinger, suffered a knee injury in the 20-17 victory over Buffalo on Sunday and is probably headed for surgery, out for the season.

That leaves rookie Brian Calhoun, who has carried the football five times for nine yards in the Lions' first six games, and recently signed (and rusty) Arlen Harris as the only completely healthy backs on the team as the Lions begin preparations for their game Sunday against the New York Jets.

Harris was released early on in the season, but does have a sound understanding of offensive coordinator Mike Martz's offense. Still, because of his lack of practice time with the team, he might be inactive for the game.

Marinelli undoubtedly will have a better understanding of the situation when the Lions return to practice Wednesday. If the injuries to Jones and Schlesinger have settled down and it appears they will be able to play, the situation might be manageable.

Jones suffered his hip pointer in the second quarter of the Buffalo game but was able to finish the game with 23 carries for 127 yards and six receptions for 36 yards, including a crucial play in the fourth quarter when he got a first down and stayed in bounds to keep the clock running.

Despite the discomfort he knew he would be experiencing this week, Jones indicated he expects to play Sunday at the Meadowlands.

"It's going to be sore, definitely," he said. "I'll just have to deal with it like I did (Sunday) - go and get treatment, and move on."

PLAYER NOTES

  • DT Shaun Rogers has been suspended by the league, reportedly for four games for violating the substance abuse program due to a banned over-the-counter substance. The team declined to comment Tuesday.
  • In replace of Rogers, the Lions signed defensive tackles Damian Gregory and Cleveland Pickney. Each player was with the team during training camp, but failed to make the final roster.
  • DL Cory Redding apparently will continue to play inside after making a successful move from LDE to UT in the Lions' 20-17 victory over Buffalo on Sunday. With starting NT Shaun Cody out with a dislocated toe, coach Rod Marinelli juggled his d-line, moving Redding from DE to UT and giving his first start of the season at LDE. Redding, who dropped 30 pounds to play at DE after last season, had three tackles and a half-sack against the Bills.
  • QB Jon Kitna has a passer rating of 80.0, putting him among the bottom third of the NFL starting quarterbacks statistically, but he is giving the Lions the leadership and direction coach Rod Marinelli likes. "He's a productive guy," Marinelli said. "He can step away from pressure really well but his poise and the leadership he gives this team is special." Kitna has thrown six TD passes and has been intercepted seven times, including three in an Oct. 8 loss at Minnesota.
  • RB Kevin Jones is coming off a hip pointer suffered during his 23-for-127 yards performance Sunday in the Lions' 20-17 victory over Buffalo. Jones was able to finish the game and indicated he expects to play in the upcoming game against the New York Jets at the Meadowlands. Jones ranks 18th among NFL running backs with 388 yards rushing but is second among running backs in receptions with 31, seven fewer than rookie Reggie Bush of New Orleans.
  • TE Dan Campbell has caught at least one pass in five of the Lions' first six games. He suffered bruised ribs and was shut out as a receiver in the 20-17 victory over Buffalo on Sunday. He has seven receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown. Among his catches are plays for 50, 30 and 23 yards.
  • WR Roy Williams showed Sunday he can play with pain and he'll probably get to demonstrate his toughness again in the Lions' game against the New York Jets at the Meadowlands. Williams suffered a neck injury in the Oct. 8 game at Minnesota, missed two days of practice for personal reasons but came back to make 10 catches for 161 yards and a TD in the 20-17 win against Buffalo. Williams leads all NFL receivers in receiving yardage with 552 yards on 36 receptions, an average of 15.3 yards per catch.
  • WR Scottie Vines was waived from the Physically Unable to Perform list. Vines, who developed into a 40-catch receiver last year after spending part of two seasons on the practice squads in Detroit and Green Bay, was restricted to the PUP list for the first six weeks of the season because of an off-season knee injury. The Lions signed training camp cut WR Brett Fischer in his place.
  • DE James Hall is getting his sacks in bunches this year. He had two against Seattle in the season opener and, after going four games without a sack, he added another 3.5 in the Lions' 20-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
  • FS Terrence Holt is one of only two Lions with an interception in the first six games of the season. Holt got his first of the season and sixth of his four-year NFL career in the Lions' 20-17 victory over Buffalo on Sunday. Nickel back Jamar Fletcher got the team's first interception a week earlier at Minnesota.
  • LB Paris Lenon wasn't expected to be one of the Lions starting LBs when the team opened training camp in late July but injuries forced coach Rod Marinelli to adjust and Lenon has become the starting strong side LB and the nickel LB. Although he does not have good speed, Marinelli says Lenon's instincts are so good that he gets to the play quickly anyway.
  • WR Mike Williams has been inactive for the third time in the Lions' six games this season as he seemingly sinks deeper and deeper into offensive coordinator Mike Martz's doghouse. With WR Scottie Vines eligible to come off the PUP list this week, there is speculation that Williams could join Charles Rogers as former first-round draft picks cut by the Lions.

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