It’s hard to suggest that the late-season absence of running back Theo Riddick was the main problem for their late-season struggles in 2016. But they surely would have loved to have him on the field for the entirety of the season.
Riddick played in only 10 out of possible 17 games last year due to. He missed the final four games of the regular season plus the team’s playoff game against Dallas due to injuries to both wrists. He was often seen on the sidelines of games with a cast on his left arm.
However, Dave Birkett of the Free Press is reporting that Riddick underwent surgery on both injured wrists last season and went unreported by both the team and Riddick.
You knew Ameer Abdullah had surgery last year, but did you know Lions RB Theo Riddick is returning from 2 surgeries? https://t.co/2tOs6QkgqP
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) March 26, 2017
Despite playing in six fewer games than he did in 2015, Riddick finished at 728 total yards from scrimmage this past season, just 102 yards shy of his 2015 mark. He was much more balanced in how he accumulated the yards, just over 50 percent of his 2016 totals came from his pass-catching ability, compared to nearly 84 percent receiving for his total yardage in 2015.
Riddick is expected to be healthy for spring OTAs and contribute heavily with fellow back Ameer Abdullah, who is also recovering from offseason surgery and was fully cleared to resume football activities earlier this month. Abdullah played in just two games last season.
The Lions have been making a huge effort to bulk up on the offensive line in an effort to not only block Matthew Stafford better, but also improve the run-blocking. Among their free agent signings thus far are former Raven Ricky Wagner and former Packer and Eastern Michigan grad T.J. Lang.