Slay underwent arthroscopic surgery last week to repair a torn meniscus cartilage. The injury occurred while Slay was running a drill at his Pro Day workout at Mississippi State on March 6. According to NFL.com, Slay was hurt running the 60-yard shuttle. It originally was reported as a pulled muscle.
Slay will not participate in the three-day rookie minicamp that begins Friday at the team’s training center in Allen Park. However, arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus typically is not considered a major procedure, and the expectation is that Slay will recover well ahead of the start of training camp in late July.
It is not known when Slay will begin working out with the Lions. This week’s mini-camp is the start of that process for rookies. They will graduate into the full workout program with veterans, which includes the OTAs (organized team activities) and the full-squad mini-camp in mid-June.
Training camp begins in late July.
The Lions drafted Slay in the second round and 36th overall with full knowledge of the Pro Day injury. However, it was not certain at the time of the draft that Slay would need surgery.
“We had a first-round grade on him,” Mayhew added. “I can tell you that right now. We had a first-round grade on Darius Slay.”
Mayhew also said the Lions were aware of Slay’s knee injury, but he would not predict when Slay could participate in workouts.
Slay sounded upbeat about the condition of his knee at his introductory press conference on April 27.
“I could do a full workout right now,” he said.
Obviously, that has changed. The reason could be as simple as workouts aggravating the injured area, and a decision was made to have surgery now rather than try to nurse it through the year.
Any injury to a rookie is cause for concern, if only for the image it presents that the player is arriving as damaged goods.
In the last four drafts, the Lions have experienced both sides of that issue with high picks. Players who were healthy in college were injured as pros, and others had an injury history that followed them to the NFL.
A look at some of the recent draft picks shows there is no clear-cut pattern, except for one: pro football is a violent game, and all players are at risk of injury at any time.
In 2010, the Lions drafted running back
In 2011, the Lions took running back Mikel Leshoure in the second round. He was a workhorse back for Illinois in 2010, playing all 13 games. He rushed for 1,697 yards and was projected to provide the power complement to Best’s speed. Leshoure tore his Achilles tendon in a noncontact drill in training camp and missed his entire rookie season.
And last year, the Lions drafted wide receiver
For Broyles, it wasn’t a re-injury that KO’d him. His left knee was fine. As a Lion, it was his right knee that was hurt.