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Hamstring could be latest hindrance to Detroit Lions WR Jameson Williams’ development

by nytime
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Dan Campbell’s plan to “douse” Jameson Williams with reps in the Detroit Lions’ final two preseason games may have hit a snag.

Williams pulled up lame grabbing his right hamstring early in the Lions’ joint practice with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Wednesday.

Williams’ injury, which occurred while running a deep route in seven-on-seven drills, was one of two the Lions suffered in their already-thin receiving corps. Amon-Ra St. Brown also left Wednesday’s practice with a lower right leg injury and did not return.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams (9) tries to make a catch against New York Giants cornerback Deonte Banks (36) during the first half of a preseason game at Ford Field in Detroit on Friday, Aug. 11, 2023.

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Williams went straight to the locker room with trainers after his injury, while St. Brown remained on the sideline after having his ankle taped but did not return to the field. After practice, St. Brown, who was injured on the first play of seven-on-seven drills, spent time mingling with fans before a Lions media relations staffer escorted him into the team’s indoor practice facility through a side entrance away from the interview area.

St. Brown’s injury did not appear serious, though he still had a noticeable limp after practice and missed time with an ankle injury last season.

On Wednesday, he came up hobbled after being hit by Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins near the goal line and spent several minutes testing the stability of his leg for trainers by running routes and cutting in an end zone away from the action on the field.

Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown runs a pass route during the Lions' joint practice with the Jaguars on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, in Allen Park.

Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown runs a pass route during the Lions’ joint practice with the Jaguars on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, in Allen Park.

Collectively, Wednesday’s injuries are the latest in a string of setbacks for a receiving corps that lacks big-time playmakers around St. Brown.

Of the 12 receivers in camp, veterans Kalif Raymond and Josh Reynolds and undrafted rookies Dylan Drummond and Chase Cota are the only four who have been around the entirety of camp and have not missed time with injuries.

Marvin Jones opened the summer on the non-football injury list with a back injury, but returned in late-July and took some first-team reps with Raymond and Reynolds on Wednesday. Denzel Mims has missed most of the past week with an ankle injury. Trinity Benson practiced Wednesday with a sleeve on his right leg after missing nearly two weeks. Maurice Alexander has not practiced since last week’s preseason game against the New York Giants. Rookie Antoine Green missed time with heat exhaustion early in camp. And Avery Davis re-signed with the Lions on Monday after being cut last week.

The Lions also lost Tom Kennedy to a shoulder injury earlier this preseason, and Drummond briefly left practice Wednesday after a defensive player rolled into the back of his legs.

The injuries have opened the door for lesser-known players like Drummond and Cota to earn roster spots.

Drummond, who played at Eastern Michigan, has been one of the Lions’ steadiest offensive players this summer, and Cota led the team with four catches and 60 yards on seven targets in last week’s exhibition win over the Giants.

Both Drummond and Cota got significant work with the second-team offense Wednesday, and Drummond took a handful of first-team reps after St. Brown’s injury.

“Whatever happens it’s always, in this league, it’s we need people to step up and it just, it gives them more reps,” Jones said. “And as much reps as they could have, that could benefit them. So they always have to take advantage and opportunity of that.”

Lions wide receiver Dylan Drummond catches a pass during the Lions' joint practice with the Jaguars on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, in Allen Park.

Lions wide receiver Dylan Drummond catches a pass during the Lions’ joint practice with the Jaguars on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, in Allen Park.

Jones joked that he might put himself in a protective bubble with injuries going around the room.

“Nah,” he said. “I just go out and do my thing. That’s just what it is.”

While St. Brown is the most important player in the Lions’ receiving corps, Williams’ injury could be more significant.

Williams barely played as a rookie last season while recovering from a college knee injury and is suspended for the first six games of the regular season this fall. He can’t practice with the team during his suspension, and Campbell has said Williams needs a high volume of work this summer to help speed his development so he’s in a spot to contribute when he returns in late October.

Williams, who missed five days of practice in July after suffering a minor hamstring injury in the second practice of camp, played three quarters against the Giants and finished with two catches for 18 yards.

“We need him out there,” Campbell said of Williams early in camp. “He needs the reps, he needs the mental reps … He’s a young player, hadn’t played. And so, yeah, we do need him out there. And the clock’s ticking every day.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions WRs Jameson Williams, Amon-Ra St. Brown hurt vs. Jags

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