Injuries Rear Ugly Head Monday

Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines (21) warms up pregame at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. Nfl Indianapolis Colts At Jacksonville Jaguars. © Robert Scheer / USA TODAY NETWORK.

That didn’t take long.

NFL training camps opened late last week and into Monday while injuries already started rattling teams’ rosters.

Injuries Rear Ugly Head Monday

The Detroit Lions splashed in free agency four months ago, signing former Philadelphia Eagles safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson to a one-year, $8 million deal. But if the worst is confirmed from Monday morning, the defender could be on the shelf indefinitely.

Injuries Rear Ugly
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Lions reporter Tim Twentyman tweeted Monday morning, “Veteran Lions DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson went down with a right leg injury Monday & was carted off the field. He was visibly upset and team captains Buggs and Goff made it a point to go comfort him. Hoping for better news than it looked.”

Multiple sources immediately clarified the injury was of the ‘non-contact’ variety, which typically implies the worst. Detroit’s defense was utterly woeful in 2022, and Gardner-Johnson was one of the fixes on paper to right the ship.

Detroit Lions safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson practices during training camp at the Detroit Lions Headquarters and Training Facility in Allen Park on Sunday, July 23, 2023. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

If Gardner-Johnson misses an extended period — what most Lions fans fear at the moment — the Lions will turn to rookie safety Brian Branch, trade for an alternative replacement, or explore the free agency of a man like John Johnson of Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams fame.

Meanwhile Monday, the Buffalo Bills encountered a spooky injury, too. Running back Nyheim Hines injured his knee and is already expected to miss the 2023 season.

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports.

NFL Network‘s Tom Pelissero tweeted, “Bills RB Nyheim Hines suffered a significant knee injury off-site and is expected to miss the entire 2023 season, sources tell me and Ian Rapoport. A tough break for Buffalo and the versatile Hines, who was acquired at the trade deadline last fall.”

The injury reportedly occurred in a jet ski accident.

Like the Lions, the Bills are firmly in playoff-contender territory, so any injury news, especially this early in the summer, is brutal. Hines is a six-year veteran and was on tap to add a pass-catching dimension to Buffalo’s offense, a trait the Bills have desperately craved for a few years.

The Bills’ Nyheim Hines returns this kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown against the Patriots. This was his second kickoff return for a touchdown in a 35-23 Buffalo win. © JAMIE GERMANO/ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Thankfully for Buffalo’s sake, the roster is designed to absorb an RB injury, as James Cook (Dalvin’s brother), Damien Harris, and former Minnesota Viking Latavius Murray live on the depth chart. The Bills could also sign a free agent like J.D. McKissic or Kareem Hunt for ‘the Hines role’ if they don’t want the offense to miss a beat.

Vikings training camp began Sunday with rookies + 12 veterans reporting to Eagan. Everyone else is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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