LIONS INSIDER

Injuries to TE Michael Williams and RB Montell Owens not considered long term

Posted Aug 24, 2013

Head coach Jim Schwartz didn't give a timetable for their return, but said neither Williams' hand injury or Owens' knee injury are long term

The Detroit Lions got some good news when it comes to the injury status of rookie tight end Michael Williams and veteran running back Montell Owens.

Head coach Jim Schwartz did not comment specifically on either injury after practice Saturday, but did say that neither injury was considered "long term."

Owens injured his knee on a non-contact play Thursday vs. the Patriots that looked worse than it actually turned out to be.

He did not practice Saturday, but was spotted walking without crutches and with just a minor limp in the locker room afterwards.

Owens, who made the Pro Bowl in 2010 and 2011 as a cover specialist, was signed this offseason to help stabilize those units for the Lions in 2013. Before the injury, he made a terrific play on kickoff coverage that pinned the Patriots inside their 20-yard line.

The fact that his knee injury isn't considered to be major is a big plus, not only for special teams, but for the offense, too.

Owens isn't just a special teams contributor for the Lions. He showed last year with the Jaguars that he could carry the load at running back if he had to. He's been playing in some two-back sets with the Lions in the preseason as a tailback/fullback combo player.

Michael WilliamsTE Mike Williams sat out of Saturday's practice with a cast on his injured hand.

Williams sat out of practice, and had a cast over his right hand, after injuring it in the first half vs. the Patriots.

Schwartz did not give a timetable for Williams' return, which could make for an interesting decision come roster-cut time.

Williams, who won three national championships with Alabama, is a terrific blocker and a great candidate to be that No. 3 tight end and play that extra blocker role -- the role Riley Reiff played in this offense last year.

Undrafted rookie Joseph Fauria has made a case for a roster spot, though, and is coming off his best game of the preseason vs. the Patriots. He made three catches for 44 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

"We said from the very beginning of training camp that he's a little bit sneaky when it comes to blocking," Schwartz said Saturday when asked of the perceived weakness in Fauria's game. "He's a lot stronger than he looks. I think he's done a nice job there.

"He caught a touchdown. You could sort of see that on the field. When Scott (Linehan) made that call all eyes in the coaching box and sideline went to the tight end because we knew what would happen if they played it a certain way and it was good to see him, it's hard to say break out, but make the same kind of plays he's been making in practice."

It'll be interesting to see how Williams' injury, the timetable for his return and Fauria's emergence will effect the Lions decision at the roster cuts when it comes to the tight end position.

The Lions have to trim their roster from 84 to 75 by 4 p.m. Tuesday and need to have the final 53-man roster determined by 6 p.m. August 31.