Lions remain optimistic about status of Ziggy Ansah

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NFL: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
Dec 11, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (94) walks off the field before the game against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. Lions win 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions haven’t had much luck on the injury front prior to the 2017 season, but their head coach is optimistic that a big piece of their team will be ready to go by Week 1.

Head coach Jim Caldwell spoke on Tuesday on the status of injured DE Ziggy Ansah, and while he stopped short of saying Ansah would return before Detroit’s regular season opener against Arizona on September 10, he stayed positive.

“I’m not a soothsayer. I’m not a prognosticator,” Caldwell said. “I can’t tell the future. I can’t predict that. I feel good about it, but anything can happen these days. You just don’t know.”

Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin echoed Caldwell’s sentiments, saying he doesn’t think that Ansah will see any ill effects from his injury once he does return.

“No, he’s been here and he’s played thousands and thousands of snaps for us,” Austin said. “I don’t worry about that.”

Ansah was seen sprinting on the sidelines with a trainer, marking his first physical activity since the beginning of Lions training camp, most of which he’s spent on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list.

The reports we get I guess are going to be good and nothing out of the ordinary,” Austin said. “Just letting it heal and take our time and when we get him back, we get him back.”

He suffered a high ankle sprain last season during week two against the Tennessee Titans, and it was a nagging issue for him all year. His on-field performance also took a hit, as he saw the number of sacks he amassed drop from 14 two years ago to just two – a career low. The Lions finished 30th in the NFL in total sacks.

“I’m not sure if I’ll be able to let you know (how we’ll be there) till we get into the real thing,” Austin said when asked about the team’s pass rush for this year. “I think at that point, we’ll find out. I don’t know if I have an answer for you right now.”