Slay, Lang sidelined
Both ruled out for Sunday; Ellington getting acclimated
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.