Agnew, Recovering Quickly, Eyeing Return This Season: "It's Just A Matter Of Time Now"

He was placed on IR with a knee injury in Week 6.

Will Burchfield
November 26, 2018 - 9:28 pm

© Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports


When Jamal Agnew went down with a knee injury in the Lions' Week 5 win over the Packers, he feared the worst. And when the team placed him on injured reserve a week later, he never thought he'd be back on the field before his mandatory eight-week inactivity period was over. 

"When it first happened, I honestly didn’t think so," Agnew said on Monday. 

But Agnew has progressed well in rehab, and there's a strong chance he'll play again this season. He's eligible to return for Detroit's Week 15 game at Buffalo. Asked if he's on schedule, he said, "Looking pretty good, I’m feeling pretty great. It’s not my decision, but we’ll see." 

Agnew's injury didn't require surgery, just steady rehab. He wouldn't say on Monday whether he's started to run again, but he was in an upbeat mood. He could return to practice as soon as next week. 

"I’ve been doing a lot of things, rehab process has been going great. Like I said, I feel really good. ... The training staff has been putting me in good position to get back out there, and I feel like I’m getting back to where I used to be. It's just a matter of time now," he said.

Without their All-Pro return man, the Lions first turned to Golden Tate to return punts and Ameer Abdullah to return kicks. Brandon Powell got some action after Tate was traded and Abdullah was released, but T.J. Jones has carried the bulk of the load. 

Agnew was also playing a good deal of slot corner before he was injured, so the Lions have felt his absence two-fold. 

"It was more frustrating, just because I had dealt with a knee injury last year toward the end of the year," he said of his initial reaction to being placed on IR. "Being hurt’s obviously a tough thing to go through. This is the first time I’ve sat out this period of time in my football career, so it was just a mental block I had to get through."

It didn't take him long. 

"My thought process was, 'What can I do to get back as soon as possible?' Their decision was to put me on IR-designated to return, and I took it with a grain of salt, I saw it as a challenge. Coming back from a serious injury is pretty challenging, mentally and physically, and I just got myself ready for the whole marathon," Agnew said. 

Six weeks later, he's nearing the finish line. The Lions haven't cleared Agnew for practice yet, but it seems that move is around the corner. 

"Working hard, putting myself in that position to make that decision a little bit easier for them," Agnew said. "I just want to get back and help the team win. I don’t like watching football, I’ve been playing it all my life. I’ve been itching to get back out there and play." 

When he collapsed in the corner of the end zone, clutching at his knee and writhing in pain, the 23-year-old didn't expect to be back here, not so soon. That incident is now far in his rearview, and Agnew is looking ahead. 

"I feared a lot of things, but it could have been worse. That’s my thinking, it always could have been worse," he said. "I'm grateful to be in the position I am right now to possibly come back."