Detroit Lions second-year defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike began the season on injured reserve because of a back injury and won't be coming off IR in 2022.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell announced Monday Onwuzurike was done for the year after undergoing surgery a week ago on a disc in his back that flared up in training camp and landed Onwuzurike on IR to start the year.
"That's a little bit of a gut punch," Campbell said, opening his Monday press conference with the news.
Surgery was the last resort, per Campbell, but after consulting multiple doctors, it was the option decided upon.
Onwuzurike was a second-round pick last year. He appeared in 16 games as a rookie, but he played through back pain most of the year. He recorded 35 tackles and a sack. All indications were he had a terrific offseason. He'd bulked up and we thought the injury was behind him. He looked great to begin training camp, but early in the first padded practice the back injury flared up and we haven't seen him on the field since.
It's always scary when we're talking about a player like Onwuzurike dealing with back surgery so early in his career, but the hope is the procedure will put his back troubles behind him and he can still have a productive career.
"Hopefully. This certainly helps," Campbell said. "It's a last resort. He felt like that's where he needed to go with it. Saw a number of doctors and we'll see where it goes."