Defensive end James Houston was forced to leave the game with an ankle injury and could be forced a significant chunk of time. Reporter Will Burchfield shared after the 37-31 overtime loss on September 17 that Houston could not walk under his own power as he left the stadium.
“Lions James Houston left the building in a wheel chair, holding crutches and with his right foot in a boot,” Burchfield wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Dan Campbell says he’ll be out for ‘a little while,’ at least, with an ankle injury.”
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported that Houston fractured his ankle, an injury that could keep him out for up to eight weeks.
Lions Lose Key Player
Houston went down in the third quarter, with his leg bending awkwardly while he was playing on the kick return unit. Birkett reported that the second-year pass rusher is expected to undergo further testing on Monday to determine whether the injury will require surgery, but it will be a six to eight-week absence for Houston.
The injury comes at a time when the Lions pass rush is already struggling, Birkett wrote.
“The Detroit Lions have one sack in their first two games, tied for second-fewest in the NFL, and now they’ll be without one of their best pass rushers for at least the next six to eight weeks,” he wrote.
Houston was a breakout player for the Lions in 2022, starting the season on the practice squad but eventually earning his way onto the active roster and ending the season with eight sacks in seven games.
Houston could now be out until late November.
Lions Bit by ‘Injury Bug’
As Jeff Risdon of USA Today’s Lions Wire noted, Detroit was bit with the “injury bug” in the game as running back David Montgomery also suffered a thigh injury that is expected to keep him out for some time.
There were a number of other players banged up during the game, Birkett wrote.
“Right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai suffered a knee injury in the third quarter and is due for further evaluation Monday, receiver Antoine Green finished the game in concussion protocol, and Kerby Joseph (hip, shoulder), C.J. Gardner-Johnson (arm), Amon-Ra St. Brown (toe, cramping) and Aidan Hutchinson (undisclosed) were among other starters who left the game because of injuries but returned,” Birkett wrote.
The Lions already lost defensive lineman Josh Paschal, who suffered an injury in practice on September 14 and was placed on injured reserve. Campbell noted that the injury was serious, though Paschal is expected to be able to return sometime later this season.
“I don’t think serious, but I think there is a chance—we’ll know more today—but there is a chance he could be out for a little bit,” Campbell said, via USA Today’s Lions Wire. “But I don’t feel like this is something to be a season-ending type of deal.”
Nathan Dougherty is a sports reporter covering the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions for Heavy. Previously he wrote for the Rochester Business Journal and served as the assistant editor of athletic trade magazines Coaching Management, Athletic Management and Training & Conditioning. He is based out of Rochester, New York, and loves everything football. More about Nathan Dougherty