Detroit Lions DT Levi Onwuzurike has struggled with a nagging back and hip injury over the last few years. This has limited his participation, and in the words of Dan Campbell, his recovery has come at “a snail’s pace”, and now it seems, the options have run out.
What happened to Lions DT Levi Onwuzurike?
Onwuzurike aggravated the back injury that has plagued him since his college days at Washington on the very first rep of padded practice this summer. He has not yet played in 2022.
In 2021, Onwuzurkike was optimistic about his injury.
“I’m back to normal. I mean, I was always good, it was just more the Lions trying to take care of me. Make sure I got better right away,”
“Everybody has their nagging pain. Mine was a little nag in the back and the hips.”Levi Onwuzurike
This is obviously concerning, as it was projected that Onwuzurike was slated to have a breakout year in 2022, and 100% recovery from back injuries is never certain. Knowing that this issue has been present since his college years does not speak well to drafting him 41st overall 2021.
Onwuzurike was drafted 41st overall by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He signed his four-year rookie contract on June 17, 2021, worth $8.14 million.
Onwuzurike is headed to surgery – will not play in 2022
Onwuzurike started the year on Injured reserve, and today, Head coach Dan Campbell told reporters that Onwuzurike had surgery during the team’s bye week and he will miss the rest of the season while his back recovers.
Campbell described the issue as “a disk” in his lower back.
“It’s a last resort,” Campbell said of the surgery.
The Detroit Lions and Onwuzurike have consulted with multiple doctors to assess his prognosis.