DeAndre Levy
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Lions could be in trouble without DeAndre Levy

The Detroit Lions are trying to make the postseason for the second consecutive year, something the franchise has not done since the days of Barry Sanders. In the offseason, general manager Martin Mayhew watched as superstar defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and fellow lineman Nick Fairley departed in free agency for the Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams, respectively.

Suddenly, the Lions may have another serious issue on their hands. On Wednesday, a report surfaced that DeAndre Levy, Detroit’s star middle linebacker, is dealing with a hip injury that will likely sideline him in Week 1 against the San Diego Chargers. Over at the Detroit Free Press, Dave Birkett references the report from FanDuel and then cites his own source, who has a different take.

The fantasy sports website FanDuel reported Wednesday that Levy could miss extended time with “possible internal damage” to his hip and may require surgery.

But a person familiar with the diagnosis, while declining to detail the injury, said Levy will not require surgery and has shown signs of improvement.

So, what is the deal?

If the Lions are missing Levy for any extended period of time, Detroit’s defense is primed to go downhill in a hurry. Levy is easily the best player on the unit and without him, covering tight ends and stopping the run will become increasingly difficult.

If Levy does need hip surgery at some point, there is a decent chance that he would be played on the Injured Reserve – Designated to Return list, which would mandate that he sit out the first eight games. Birkett also wrote in his story that the team believes Levy’s injury will keep him out a “matter of weeks,” leading us to believe that Levy will be out beyond just Week 1.

This is a rough stretch for Levy to be missing. Detroit begins the season on the road against the Chargers and Minnesota Vikings before coming home to host the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football. If the Lions don’t play well, they could easily be staring at 0-3 in a very tough NFC North.

In Birkett’s piece, San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers talked about what Levy brings to the table:

“He obviously jumps off the film,” Rivers said. “What really impresses me is how he does a little bit of everything. He’s a heck of a rusher, he really brings it when he blitzes. At the same time you look up and he’s out there covering some team’s best receivers. A lot of times on tight ends, he’s right there stride for stride with them. He really can do it all, so obviously we’ll see.”

Needless to say, Detroit is in a tough situation for the season opener, playing a good team on the road and likely without its three top defensive players from a year ago.

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