Detroit Lions key pass rusher Julian Okwara might return Week 1 vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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The Detroit Lions could get one of their best pass rushers back in time for their regular-season opener Sept. 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Lions coach Dan Campbell said Friday injured linebacker Julian Okwara is trending towards returning for the start of the regular season.

Okwara has not practiced since Aug. 3 because of what Campbell described as a lower leg injury. A third-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2020, Okwara finished second on the Lions with five sacks last season after missing most of his rookie year with injuries.

Lions defensive end Julian Okwara goes through drills during OTAs on Thursday, June 2, 2022, in Allen Park.
Lions defensive end Julian Okwara goes through drills during OTAs on Thursday, June 2, 2022, in Allen Park.

"We’re hoping for Philly, that he’ll be back," Campbell said. "He’s probably got the best shot of all of (the injured players) to be ready for Philly."

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The Lions have been without young pass rushers Okwara and Levi Onwuzurike most of training camp. Onwuzurike, who was ticketed for a rotational role at defensive tackle, has not practiced since aggravating a back injury Aug. 1 in the Lions' first padded practice of the summer.

Campbell said Thursday that Onwuzurike's recovery was coming "at a snail's pace." Onwuzurike is not expected to be ready for the Eagles game and could require a stint on injured reserve.

Second-year safety Ifeatu Melifonwu has been out since early August with a soft tissue injury that is not related to the strained quad that kept him out 10 weeks last season.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions LB Julian Okwara could return Week 1 vs. Eagles