Taylor Decker is back on the field in Allen Park.
The Detroit Lions left tackle will begin practicing on Wednesday after starting the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list with a torn labrum. Rapoport added that there is no word on when Decker will play.
The timing of his return is right on schedule. When Decker underwent surgery in June, he was given a four-to-six-month recovery timetable. The left tackle will return to the practice field four and a half months after going under the knife.
Decker's eventual entry into the starting lineup will be a huge relief to a Lions offensive line that has struggled mightily to develop a ground game and protect the quarterback. Entering Week 9, Matthew Stafford is the second-most sacked quarterback in the league (25). That high number puts the typically elusive QB in the company of two struggling young guns (Jacoby Brissett and Trevor Siemian) and one aging journeyman (Josh McCown).
In Decker's stead, the Lions have had to rely on former second-overall pick Greg Robinson, who joined Detroit in the offseason after the Rams swapped him for a sixth-round pick before his rookie contract expired. Pro Football Focus ranks Robinson as the 71st-best tackle in the league this year; for comparison, the site pegged Decker 23rd among all tackles last season. After starting Detroit's first six games, Robinson suffered an ankle injury and was replaced by Brian Mihalik, a 2015 seventh-round pick who came into the league as a defensive end.
Here are the other injuries we're monitoring Wednesday:
- Teddy Bridgewater Activation Watch is in full swing. When asked Tuesday whether he was ready to move the mending Vikings quarterback off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, Vikings skipper Mike Zimmer said, "I'm prepared. We'll take it one day at a time, though, and see. We've still got a few more days to figure it out."
Bridgewater (knee) returned to practice on Oct. 18. The team has three weeks (21 days) to move him to the roster, meaning Minnesota has one week from Wednesday to make the decision.
- Two Denver Broncos rookies returned to practice on Wednesday. Tight end Jake Butt (knee) and quarterback Chad Kelly (wrist) both participated, NFL Network's James Palmer reported. Butt and Kelly were both on the non-football injury list. Wide receiverEmmanuel Sanders (ankle) also was back at practice.
- As anticipated, the San Francisco 49ers placed defensive back Jimmie Ward (forearm) on injured reserve.