All-Pro Frank Ragnow became the third Detroit Lions offensive lineman to be sidelined this week. swallowing.

ALLEN PARK – In a potential blow to both the team and player, All-Pro player Frank Ragno is dealing with a thigh injury serious enough to keep him out of training on Thursday. Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Tommy Kraemer were also unavailable, leaving the long-awaited Detroit Lions’ attacking streak extremely weak in Sunday’s opener against Philadelphia.

It is difficult to underestimate the gravity of the situation. The roster is much better this year, but nowhere better than the offensive line. The Lions invested heavily in first-round picks like Ragnow, Taylor Decker and Penei Sewell while spending heavily on free agents like Vaitai. Throw in Jonah Jackson’s appearance, and that group was expected to join the league’s elite last season.

It never happened, because the fifth start never happened. Not even for once. Decker underwent toe surgery just days before the opener, Ragno suffered a season-ending foot injury by the time Decker returned, and Detroit continued to navigate through seven starter sets while dealing with injuries across the front.

Rajno was so devastated by his foot injury that the team had to talk to him about trying to play through the swollen ligament in his foot.

“At first I thought I could totally handle it because there wasn’t much pain,” Rajno said in January. “But from a functional point of view, balance and movement, it was unrealistic for me to think that I could be the player I could be. That was what was so frustrating for me, because I thought I could take it.”

In the end, Ragnow succumbed to the medical staff, had surgery and set his sights on the right track for 2022. He did, too. He’s back with the team to start an off-season program and he looked like him during an outstanding training camp. He only took a day off all summer, on August 10th.

Then on the first day of week one training — the same day Decker sustained a finger injury that sent him to IR last season — Ragnow sustained a groin injury. Listed as restricted on that day’s practice report, then there was nowhere to be seen a day later, leaving his status completely unclear before opening in three days.

Head coach Dan Campbell has not spoken to reporters since Rajno’s injury, so the nature and severity of the injury remains unclear. It’s also worth noting that Ragnow has played through various injuries along the way – including a broken throat in 2020 – becoming one of the game’s ironmen in the trenches. He also wanted to play with the ligament severed in his foot last year. So maybe he’ll try to play through this as well.

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Either way, Ragnow’s injury is another setback for perhaps the best player in the Lions. He was the second All-Pro team in his most recent healthy season and is widely considered to be among the top spots in the league. With Faytay and Kramer also sidelined, the Lions have now fallen behind three of the top four guards overall – just in time for a match against the Eagles’ defense front that brought back Fletcher Cox and added Jordan Davis in the first round.

Logan Stenberg is now the best goalkeeper on the bench, despite playing only four offensive games in a disappointing two-year spell in Detroit. Lions feel more comfortable with him on the left side, and would probably choose to play him there if they went that route. This would bump into Jackson, who is out of the Pro Bowl season, for the right guard.

Lions also play with Sewell in the right guardand the introduction of Matt Nelson in the squad when the correct intervention.

No matter which direction they take, that’s definitely not the way Detroit expected to open another season.

“Listen, I love this O-line, and I still love this O-line,” Campbell said before training on Wednesday. “Definitely losing Big V would hurt, he’s been rock solid for us, and he’s a great team guy. But I still love where we are. Look, just as a player and coach, the O line, as long as you have a group of players who know how to work together, they’re strong, and they’re Smart, you can achieve great things. And we still have a lot of that out there. So we’ll be fine.”

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