Center Frank Ragnow suffered an injury to his throat last Sunday during the Lions' loss to the Packers.
"I think the initial concern was just all the trauma that he had to it, so after seeing more specialists throughout (Wednesday), they basically brought it to that it's more of the vocal cord injury," Lions interim head coach Darrell Bevell said Thursday.
"So they're having him rest his voice, won't be speaking really here. (Wednesday), no words spoken; today, no words spoken, he's not supposed to talk through Friday, and then we'll be able to reevaluate it on Friday toward the end of the week."
It's pretty amazing that Ragnow suffered the injury early against the Packers, walked over to his coaches and the quarterbacks and told them he couldn't really talk, and stayed in the game and finished it. The Lions evaluated him early on and at halftime, and after making sure he could still breath and swallow and function fine otherwise, they allowed him to keep playing.
Bevell said the players are having a little fun with Ragnow this week during his silence.
"You can imagine what it's like in here, right?" Bevell said. "Everybody knows he's not supposed to talk, so they're all trying to get him to say something."
Ragnow's non-verbal communication includes head shaking, thumbs up and having him write some stuff down. Friday he'll be reevaluated and the Lions will make a determination about his availability for Sunday then.
"I knew something was going on, but pretty crazy he was able to finish the game with that," Stafford said this week of Ragnow's injury. "Love him as a teammate. Obviously will play through a bunch and just fights every weekend for us."
If it's determined Ragnow can't play, the Lions will have to shift things around upfront. Jonah Jackson could move over from guard to play center. Joe Dahl and rookie Logan Stenberg also spent time in training camp cross-training at center.
"I have total confidence in the guys we're preparing to play," Bevell said. "As you know, there's shifting around that we will do with the offensive line to be able to handle all of those five. Always have these contingency plans in mind at – really, with the numbers that you have.
"There are only eight guys that are active for gameday, so you have to have all kinds of plans, 'We lose this guy, who goes here?' And we're always communicating and talking about that and practicing that way at times. So, I'm confident with the plan that we'll have going forward."
NO TALK OF SHUTTING STAFFORD DOWN
Bevell was asked Thursday if the team would consider shutting down quarterback Matthew Stafford for the rest of the season because of the rib injury he suffered last week against Green Bay if the Lions became mathematically out of the playoff race over the last three games.
Stafford sat out practice Wednesday and Thursday, and a decision on his availability for Sunday's game against the Titans will be made at the end of the week. Bevell said shutting Stafford down for the year has not been talked about yet.
If Stafford can't go this week, it's expected that veteran backup Chase Daniel will get the start. Daniel said he won't treat this week any different than he always does.
"It's weird, and maybe that's why I've stuck around so long in this league for 12 years or whatever it is, is I truly prepare like a starter each and every week like I'm going to go out there from the start from the first snap and play," Daniel said this week.
"I'm not going to do anything special (this week). I'm going to trust my process. It's gotten me this far and it's proven that it works for me."
Daniel is 2-3 as a starter in his career. He has played in 67 career games. He's completed 67.5 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and six interceptions.
Daniel said he's preparing to play, but also said nothing would surprise him when it comes to Stafford's toughness and him trying to play.
The Lions also signed a fourth quarterback this week, Jordan Ta'amu, and assigned him to the practice squad.