ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Eric Ebron has barely been a Detroit Lions participant this preseason. He worked out the first day of training camp -- at least until individual drills, when he injured his hamstring. Then he sat for almost two weeks before making a brief cameo in individual drills during a joint practice with the Indianapolis Colts.
Since then, Ebron has disappeared again. Sure, he’s out at practice watching most days. He’s been in the locker room -- and declined to speak -- every day this week. But he hasn’t been out on the field and it’s not clear how serious his injury is or what, exactly, is going on.
But one thing is clear: He’s hurt again and he’s not likely to play in any preseason games. With that happening, there are things the fourth-year pro is going to miss out on.
“Anything in that regard, you always miss a little bit in terms of refinement,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “You always end up starting just a little bit later in terms of where you are from a sharpness standpoint when you do miss chunks of time during the preseason. So that’s what he’s missed more so than anything else.
“But his production, when you look at the numbers, look at the end of the year, possibly could they be better than that? We’ll see. But I do think that he gets in the swing of things pretty quickly and is able to adjust. But just the fine-tuning, just like anybody that would miss.”
Caldwell said timing and accuracy are the two biggest things Ebron is missing by being injured again this preseason. And injuries have been a theme for him throughout his career. He has yet to play a full 16-game season in his first three years.
Last season, an ankle injury limited his preseason, and knee and ankle injuries hurt him during the regular season. He also had a knee injury during the 2015 season and a hamstring injury during his rookie season.
He has shown improvement every year, though. As a rookie, he had 25 catches for 248 yards and a touchdown in 13 games. In 2015, he jumped to 47 catches for 537 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games. Last season, in 13 games, he had career highs with 61 catches for 711 yards but only one touchdown.
In January, Ebron told ESPN he had a larger goal this season: becoming a 1,000-yard receiver. Statistically, it’s possible. But his health will likely dictate whether he has a real shot at it or not.