It is a common theme throughout NFL locker rooms, an one that's worth repeating. It’s not a matter of if injuries are going to happen, but when.
The when struck the Lions again on Thanksgiving.
Detroit lost another defensive starter for the season after strong safety Tavon Wilson went down with a shoulder injury in Detroit's loss to Minnesota last Thursday. He was put on season-ending IR Monday. Wilson's been battling shoulder problems all year.
He initially injured the shoulder in training camp. He re-aggravated it Week 2 against the Giants, missing one game before returning to practice in a red no-contact jersey. Then he hurt it again when he broke up a deep throw intended for Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs in the second half vs. Minnesota.
“It’s just like anything else you know,” Caldwell said Monday, when asked about Wilson. “The guys that regardless of who it is, the guys that you lose, that you don’t want to lose, but you’re always going to have somebody be able to step up and step in and get it done.
“But obviously, he’s been a vital part of what we do and he’s done a great job for us, so we’ll see what happens.”
It’s most likely that second-year safety Miles Killebrew will be asked to step in and try to fill Wilson’s 55 tackles, 2.0 sacks, interception and forced fumble worth of production in 10 games.
Killebrew has seen his role decline some recently. He averaged 38 snaps per game the first six games of the season, but that number dipped to just 16 the four games leading into Thanksgiving. He played 32 snaps on Thanksgiving
“He’s coming along,” Caldwell said about Killebrew. “He’s making steps forward and he’s coming.”
A fourth-round pick last year, Killebrew has 32 tackles, five pass defended, a forced fumble and an interception on the year.
The team also has safeties Charles Washington, Don Carey and Rolan Milligan on the roster that can fill in some if needed.