Slay, Lang side­lined

Both ruled out for Sun­day; Elling­ton get­ting ac­cli­mated

The Detroit News - - Lions - BY MATT SCHOCH Spe­cial to The Detroit News Matt Schoch is a free­lance writer.

Corner­back Dar­ius Slay (knee) and of­fen­sive guard T.J. Lang (neck) were ruled out by the Li­ons on Fri­day af­ter not prac­tic­ing this week.

Slay, an All-Pro last sea­son, has played ev­ery game the past two sea­sons. He had his sec­ond in­ter­cep­tion of the year last week against Min­nesota.

Lang has been bat­tling a num­ber of in­juries this sea­son and did not make it through last week’s game against Min­nesota, for which he was ques­tion­able with a hip in­jury.

Kenny Wig­gins has been play­ing right guard when Lang has been un­avail­able.

In ad­di­tion, run­ning back Ker­ryon John­son was listed as ques­tion­able Fri­day be­cause of an an­kle in­jury.

The Li­ons listed linebacker Eli Harold as doubt­ful for the game. De­fen­sive end Ziggy An­sah, linebacker Jalen ReevesMay­bin and tight end Luke Will­son also were ques­tion­able.

Elling­ton ready

In the slot, on the out­side and in the re­turn game, Bruce Elling­ton said he’s ready for what­ever the Li­ons throw at him. Even now, in the cold.

He got his first taste of No­vem­ber in Michi­gan on Fri­day as the Li­ons prac­ticed in snow flur­ries to sim­u­late what­ever weather will come Sun­day in Chicago.

The wide re­ceiver thawed out in the locker room and said he’s been field­ing punts for the Li­ons since be­ing signed on Tues­day.

“Lit­tle cold, but I’m mak­ing it,” said Elling­ton, who grew up in South Carolina and has played for Hous­ton and San Fran­cisco. “I’m not used to it at all, but I can adapt.”

Elling­ton caught eight passes for the Tex­ans this sea­son be­fore he was placed on in­jured re­serve be­cause of a ham­string in­jury.

A shifty player in the open field, Elling­ton could fill a re­turn game void cre­ated by an in­jury to Ja­mal Agnew, the re­lease of Ameer Ab­dul­lah on Tues­day and the Tate trade.

Li­ons coach Matt Pa­tri­cia said Wed­nes­day that Elling­ton’s role would be de­ter­mined prac­tice this week.

A fourth-round pick out of South Carolina, the 5-foot-9, 200-pound Elling­ton has 56 catches for 637 yards and five touch­downs in four sea­sons.

Mack at­tack?


Linebacker Khalil Mack, traded to the Bears from Oak­land in the pre­sea­son, is ex­pected to re­turn af­ter a two-week ab­sence with an an­kle in­jury.

One of the premium edge rush­ers in the league, Mack had five sacks in his first four games with Chicago and a forced fum­ble in each con­test.

“He’s just so smooth on the edge that he can kind of just reach around some of those of­fen­sive line­man that are block­ing him at the same time,” Pa­tri­cia said. “It’s more than just knock­ing it down, a lot of times he’ll just take it away, just grab it and pulls it out.”

In his only ca­reer game against the Li­ons, Mack had eight solo tack­les, in­clud­ing two for a loss, for Oak­land in an 18-13 Detroit win in 2015.

In Chicago, he’s teamed up with de­fen­sive line­man Akiem Hicks, who Pa­tri­cia coached with New Eng­land in 2015.

“I think he’s prob­a­bly one of the most dis­rup­tive guys in the league,” Pa­tri­cia said. “He’s a guy that has un­be­liev­able strength and power.

Get­ting there

Take out one play, and the Li­ons held Min­nesota to 58 yards rush­ing on 22 car­ries on Sun­day. Oh, but that 70-yarder. Run­ning back Dalvin Cook, in his first game back af­ter miss­ing four be­cause of an in­jury, went up the mid­dle to the 5yard-line late in the sec­ond quar­ter, set­ting up a touch­down as the Vik­ings took con­trol in a 24-9 win.

“It just goes back to the de­tails,” mid­dle linebacker Jar­rad Davis said Fri­day. “You got to make sure you’re locked in at all times. If you’re not, then you let 70-yarders go.”

Davis was en­gaged with an of­fen­sive line­man on the play and couldn’t shake him to make the tackle.

Fa­mil­iar faces

Li­ons linebacker Chris­tian Jones will be play­ing his for­mer team for the first time.

The un­drafted free agent out of Florida State was signed by the Bears in 2014 and played four sea­sons in Chicago, start­ing 31 games.

Dono­van Raiola, younger brother to long­time Li­ons cen­ter Do­minic, is the as­sis­tant of­fen­sive line coach.

The for­mer stand­out cen­ter for Wis­con­sin is in his first year with the Bears.

Daniel Mears/Detroit News

Corner­back Dar­ius Slay has played ev­ery game the past two sea­sons for the Li­ons, but he’ll miss the Bears’ game with a knee in­jury.

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