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NOTEBOOK: Decker & Montgomery hopeful to play Thursday

Taylor Decker made it just 19 plays into Detroit's Week 1 win in Kansas City before suffering what he initially thought was a broken ankle when Chiefs linebacker Leo Chenal dove into his leg trying to make a tackle on running back David Montgomery.

"It was a pretty good high ankle (sprain) with a bone bruise," Decker said this week of the injury. "They said usually you can finish the game on those, and then the next day it just blows up, which it did.

"So I was in a walking boot for a little while, trying to turn it around as quick as I can. So, it's (still) probably just going to (freaking) hurt."

Decker finished that Week 1 contest but has missed Detroit's last two games due to the injury. He was listed as a limited participant in Monday's walkthrough and said after he has every intention of playing Thursday night in Green Bay 'unless somebody who's above me in the pecking order says differently.'

"It's going to hurt, but as long as I can be functional, I can deal with the pain," Decker said. "I've done it plenty of times before. I'm confident I can go out there and help us win, so it'll be fun being back out there with everybody.

"Big thing is, just the days leading up to the game, just make sure it's feeling as good as it can, and just go out there, you're going to have the adrenaline pumping and I'm sure it'll feel even better than it did today."

The Lions have shuffled personnel on their offensive line over the past two weeks, moving right tackle Penei Sewell to left tackle and starting Matt Nelson at right tackle. Nelson injured his ankle in Sunday's win over the Atlanta Falcons, which will need surgery, and his backup, Dan Skipper, left with a hamstring injury.

That meant rookie fifth-round pick Colby Sorsdal, a right tackle in college before converting to guard in the NFL, played the entire second half against Atlanta at right tackle.

Veteran Graham Glasgow started the game at right guard in place of the injured Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who isn't likely to play Thursday against Green Bay.

"The biggest thing, and it's just a testament to our group is, no matter who's out there they're just going to continue to play hard and play physical," Decker said. "Even (Sunday), you could just feel the physicality even if everything wasn't pretty, where maybe a block was missed here or there, those teams were going to feel them, they were going to know that they played against those guys.

"So, it just makes me want to just play even more cause I'm like, they're out there and they're fighting, scratching, clawing, I was sitting on the couch. So, I'm excited to be back once I finally do."


Montgomery is also hopeful to play Thursday after missing Sunday's game with a thigh bruise suffered in the Week 2 loss vs. Seattle.

"We've been doing everything right as far as preparing myself in the training room, mentally being there," Montgomery said Monday. "We are just taking it day by day but I'm ready for whatever."

Montgomery leads the Lions with 141 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns despite missing Sunday's game vs. Atlanta. Rookie Jahmyr Gibbs filled in nicely against the Falcons with 80 rushing yards on 17 carries (4.7 avg.), but the Lions are a better running football team when they have that dynamic duo of Montgomery and Gibbs in the backfield.

Green Bay enters Thursday's contest ranked 27th in the NFL defensively against the run, allowing 136.7 yards per game through the first three weeks of the season.

Montgomery said if it was up to him as a competitor he would play Thursday. Like Decker, he was a limited participant in Monday's walkthrough after not practicing at all last week.

Lions head coach Dan Campbell said Tuesday he feels pretty good about both Decker and Montgomery being able to play Thursday night.


Injuries were a big storyline for Lions safety Ifeatu Melifonwu his first two seasons in the league. The cornerback-turned-safety played in just 17 games his first two seasons.

Now in his third season Melifonwu has enjoyed his longest streak of health dating back to training camp, and when his number was called to play a key role Sunday vs. Atlanta with Kerby Joseph out (hip), Melifonwu stepped in and delivered.

He had three tackles, a tackle for loss and a key pass breakup on a third down late in the third quarter. He allowed two catches for just eight yards total in his coverage area.

"Yeah, he did some really nice things," Campbell said. "It was good to see him out there make the plays that he made. Iffy's a smart guy and it's just about getting him on the field and keeping him out there health-wise. This is the most time we've had on him consistently to be able to just bank those reps at the safety position in particular.

"We thought he did a real nice job. And the other thing, man, he played a physical game. He played a physical game. He was good in coverage, but he also came up and he hit, and he was where he was supposed to be. It was good. It was an excellent first start for him at safety."

Joseph returned to practice this week as a limited participant, but his status for Thursday is still in question. If he can't go, the Lions certainly have to feel better about Melifonwu stepping in and playing well again after Sunday's performance.

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