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The Lions starting left tackle will miss at least the next three games, possibly more.
According to a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Detroit Lions left tackle Taylor Decker will be placed on injured reserve on Saturday. Decker suffered a finger injury in practice this week that head coach Dan Campbell said could require surgery depending on what doctors said later on Friday.
“We’ll know for sure this afternoon, but I think that it’s probably leaning that way,” Campbell said.
Per Rapoport, Decker will be back “after a month or so,” but he is now guaranteed to miss at least the next three games, as new IR rules state that a player must miss a minimum of three weeks before they can return to play.
The Lions have yet to confirm this move or any corresponding move, but it does open up a roster spot that Detroit could use on an extra offensive lineman, be it tackle Will Holden, who was signed to the practice squad this week, or Darrin Paulo.
As for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, it appears the Lions have been grooming rookie Penei Sewell to move back over to the left side to take Decker’s spot in the starting lineup. Matt Nelson may be the team’s best option at right tackle, even though the converted defensive lineman has only started one game in his career. Either way, the 49ers’ defensive line, led by All-Pro Nick Bosa, will be a tough challenge for Sewell and company.
“He’s a big part of this team and a big piece,” Sewell said of Decker. “So losing him out there is definitely something different, but, again, next man up. Things like this happen in the game of football. You just gotta bounce back and lean on the people you’ve been training with this whole time.”