The Detroit Lions have opened the door, however slightly, for linebacker Alex Anzalone to play on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
Anzalone is battling a hand injury that he suffered on Thanksgiving against the Green Bay Packers. He hasn’t practiced since.
And Dan Campbell said he would be out for “a little bit,” but was listed as doubtful on the injury report. That’s better than expected. While he still likely won’t play, the possibility at least remains alive for him to suit up at the Superdome, where he began his career as a member of the Saints.
He’s enjoyed his best years since defecting for Detroit in 2021, where he rejoined Campbell and Aaron Glenn for the early days of the rebuild.
He’s played better every year since, and has really flourished since moving to the weak-side role this season. He leads the team in tackles (87) and has already set career highs in quarterback hits (nine) and sacks (3.0).
He’s also been Detroit’s best linebacker in coverage. If he can’t go — and that’s still the most likely scenario — the Lions are expected to lean on rookie Jack Campbell for the playcalling role, while Derrick Barnes and Malcolm Rodriguez are also expected to shoulder more responsibility.
At this point, the only player ruled out is rookie quarterback Hendon Hooker, who is unlikely to see the field this season as he returns from an ACL tear.
He has just one week of practice under his belt, and remains firmly behind Jared Goff and Teddy Bridgewater, and probably practice-squad quarterback David Blough too.
Guard Jonah Jackson is questionable to play in New Orleans, meaning his return against the Saints is probable. He’s missed two games with a wrist injury, and five of the last six overall.