Kerby Joseph in ‘good’ condition following hip surgery; Detroit Lions could potentially see an increase in prime time game appearances.

Detroit Lions safety Kerby Joseph will sit out of spring practices following offseason hip surgery, as announced Thursday during the team’s uniform unveiling. Joseph expressed confidence in his recovery, aiming to return to full health by the start of training camp in July.

Despite sustaining a hip injury in a Week 2 defeat against the Seattle Seahawks last season, Joseph persevered, missing only two games and remaining on the field for the remainder of the year. He maintained a high level of performance, tallying 82 tackles and sharing the team lead with four interceptions for the second consecutive year.

Joseph adamantly stated that the injury did not impede his effectiveness on the field, affirming his commitment to giving his all every time he plays.

The Lions’ safety lineup for the upcoming season includes Joseph and Ifeatu Melifonwu, who concluded last season as starting safeties, along with slot cornerback Brian Branch. However, head coach Dan Campbell indicated the team’s intention to seek additional help at the safety position in the upcoming draft.

Presently, Brandon Joseph, who spent the previous season on the practice squad, is the sole other safety listed on the Lions’ roster.

Joseph declared his intention to return for training camp, signaling his determination to bounce back from his injury hiatus.

Rod Wood, president of the Lions, anticipates the team could potentially hit the maximum of six prime time games when the NFL schedule is unveiled in May.

“I’m not certain if we’ll reach the maximum,” Wood remarked. “Technically, we have six scheduled prime time slots plus Thanksgiving, and there’s a chance to be flexed into a seventh. I believe we’ll be close to six. Whether we achieve that number or not, it remains uncertain.”

The Lions garnered significant attention on television last season as they gained popularity on their way to a 12-5 record and securing the NFC North title.

Wood emphasized that the Lions continue to be attractive to the NFL’s broadcasting partners. They are expected to enter the 2024 season as one of the NFC’s leading contenders for the Super Bowl, boasting an enticing schedule.

The Lions are scheduled to play eight games against seven playoff teams from the previous season. They will face their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers, twice, and will host powerhouse teams like the Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Buffalo Bills. Additionally, they will hit the road to play against the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, and Houston Texans.

Detroit Lions fan holds up a sign during a game against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day at Ford Field in Detroit on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023.

The Lions and 49ers clashed in the NFC championship game last year.

“We have numerous strong opponents that would be ideal for prime time slots, whether we’re playing at home or away,” Wood mentioned.

Last season, the Lions were slated for four prime time games when the schedule was first announced, and later on, they were added to a fifth one against the Denver Broncos as the season progressed.

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