Detroit Lions: LaAdrian Waddle ahead of schedule after tearing ACL


One of the biggest blows for the Detroit Lions came in week 15 last season against the Minnesota Vikings when OT LaAdrian Waddle tore his ACL.

The good news is, Waddle is ahead of schedule and has not been ruled out for the 2015 season opener against the San Diego Chargers.

Waddle says he knee is “feeling good” and feels he his ahead of schedule. “I think I’m a little ahead of schedule. It’s been going really well, we haven’t had any kind of setbacks. According to “Each day I feel like I’m getting a little better. Hopefully I’ll be back sooner than later.”

A typical ACL tears require about ten months or longer before fully recovered and Waddle as right around the nine month mark. There’s still roughly three months before the regular season kick off and Waddle is already running and jumping, which is a good sign.

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Even though he’s progressing well, the Lions still won’t rush back one of their best linemen. He’s too important to the team’s offense and to the protection of quarterback Matthew Stafford. It’s also important not to rush him back because there’s always a chance he could re-injure himself and miss the entire season.

Time missed not only by Waddle and the rest of the line caused Matthew Stafford to be sacked a career high 45 times last year. Detroit ranked 22nd in sack allowed last year. The Detroit Lions offensive line also ranked 19th in the NFL in protection index with a 59.3 out of 100.

Should Waddle be able to go, those numbers along with the anemic 88.9 rushing yards per game they averaged should improve upon those numbers.

Should Waddle not be able to go in the season opener, Cornelius Lucas, rookie Corey Robinson and Michael Williams are the other options on the depth chart.

As an undrafted free-agent signee out of Texas Tech, Waddle has proven to be an integral part on the Lions offensive line. When healthy, he’s been one few guys on the line head coach Jim Caldwell can rely on to give a solid performance.

In his 10 starts last season, Waddle allowed five sacks, two quarterback hits and 12 hurries. Not the greatest numbers but certainly the best Detroit has at the position. Entering his third year you’d expect his numbers to improve should he not have to deal with nagging injuries that force him to miss a significant amount of time.

The key to Waddle has been health. At 23, Waddle has been banged up quite a bit. Along with the ACL tear last year, he’s dealt with a concussion, some elbow issues along with some calf and knee issues. But Waddle isn’t the only Detroit Lion offensive lineman to miss time, last year’s o-line of Waddle, Riley Reiff, Rob Sims, Dominic Raiola and Larry Warford started just seven games together and finished less than that.

Waddle is working hard to be one-hundred percent and be ready for the team’s season opener.

Next: Analyzing the Lions' Defensive Roster

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