Following a tough day of injury news, the Detroit Lions got a major break on at least one account, learning that special teams wiz Montell Owens wouldn't miss much time with his gruesome looking knee injury.
Late Saturday, Tim Twentyman of Detroitlions.com reported that Owens was walking in the locker room with crutches in hand sans a limp. Considering the heap Owens went down in while playing against New England on Thursday, that was incredibly positive news. Initially, it appeared Owens, given he fell without being tackled, would be lost for a sizeable amount of time.
Now, as Twentyman confirms, Owens' injury does not appear serious enough to keep him out for a long time. Signed away from Jacksonville this offseason, Owens is expected to provide Detroit's special teams with a huge boost. He made the 2011 and 2012 Pro Bowls as a special teamer, and holds the Jaguars' franchise record for most special teams tackles in a single season (30). As most people know, the Lions struggled most with bringing opposing returners down during the 2012 season.
Along with John Wendling, another special teams ace, Owens should add some instant credibility to a group which badly needed an upgrade in the offseason. Pairing a player of Owens' overall tackling ability with Wendling's speed and savvy could literally help the Lions' special teams make a worst to first transition. Against New England prior to injury, Owens had already made a phenomenal shoestring tackle on a returner, showing his positive value.
Losing Owens for any length of time wouldn't matter in the grand scheme of things to the offense, but it certainly would for the coverage teams. From now on, Owens shouldn't see any carries, but should be saved entirely for special teams. Just like the star player who should never see time on kickoff coverage to prevent injury, Owens shouldn't see time during regular offensive possessions for the same reason. He's that valuable for 2013.
To the naked eye, Owens might be just another running back, but his value transcends his traditional roster title. For this reason, Detroit received their first lucky break of the year with reports of his health.
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