The Detroit Free Press reports that Lions LT Jeff Backus suffered a “non-serious” pectoral injury recently during the lockout. The injury is described as a partially torn pectoral muscle which theoretically shouldn’t be a big issue, but has the potential to be. The Lions are already thin at tackle with Gosder Cherilus recovering from microfracture knee surgery and they don’t have any proven depth behind the two starters.
Pectoral injuries are dicey injuries because they can recur and they sap a players’ upper body strength. Backus’ biggest strengths are his ability to handle the bull rush and he’s a strong run blocker, both of which would suffer from any prolonged issues.
Since the Lions’ medical staff hasn’t been able to contact Backus, there is no formal team diagnosis of the injury so it’s all speculation until he can get into the team facility and be checked out. The Lions weren’t expected to be big players in free agency on the offensive line, but depending on the severity of the injury the Lions could be forced to make a play for somebody like the Cowboys’ Doug Free, who would be pricey but is young enough to step in as the left tackle of the future.
Hopefully the report is correct and Backus will be fine for the start of the regular season, but without any offseason workouts or OTAs having the starting left tackle miss training camp could be a big problem. Especially when the main objective for the 2011 season is keeping franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford upright and healthy all year.