By: Will Burchfield
Lions guard T.J. Lang was a surprise scratch for Sunday's game against the Saints, landing on the inactive list just a couple hours before kickoff.
The back injury he sustained in Week 4 flared up at the worst time.
"A couple weekends ago in the Vikings game I took a nasty hit and jacked my back up a little bit, kind of been bugging me the last couple weeks. Sunday I felt pretty good waking up in the morning, went into try to loosen up, get ready for the game and something just happened, man. Tried to move and stretch and my back just really tightened up on me," Lang told the Valenti Show on 97.1 The Ticket.
Lang said the flare-up occurred "about 15 minutes" before the Lions had to submit their list of inactive players.
"It was just kind of a freak thing that happened there Sunday morning," he said.
"I've never had back problems before, it's not something that is chronic for me. But anybody with back problems will tell you, any little tiny movement or motion can kind of throw you off if your back's not right. And that's what happened to me. Was trying to stretch, and I literally tried to sit up from the table and something caught on me," Lang said.
Had the game started later in the day, Lang, who said he felt "pretty decent" during practice throughout the week, believes he would have been able to play.
"I really wanted to try to give it a go but I couldn't guarantee that I was going to be loose enough to play," he said. "I think if it was a 4:00 game or night game I would have had time to loosen up and get ready. But just the timing of it was really, really unfortunate. I was pretty bummed about it.
The Lions desperately missed Lang up front, where they were punished by the Saints' defensive line. Matthew Stafford was sacked five times and had 12 passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.
Lang spent the first half on Detroit's sideline, trying to coach his teammates, but retreated to the locker room in the second half for treatment.
"Obviously wanted to be out there on the field, cheering the teammates on, kind of being there for the O-linemen that were playing, helping them out a little bit on the sidelines. But when my back started flaring up on me again I didn't want to be out there just sitting on the bench the whole time," said Lang.
The Lions cut a 35-point deficit to seven in the fourth quarter, tempting Lang to come back out on the field.
"I wanted to go back on the field when it was getting interesting again, but figured I'd probably jinx the team, so just stayed in and got some rehab. It was really hurting to kind of stand and move around out there on the field," he said.
Along with Lang, the Lions lost guard Emmet Cleary (ankle), who started in Lang's place, left tackle Greg Robinson (ankle) and right tackle Rick Wagner (leg).
Detroit has allowed an NFL-high 23 sacks in six games.
for more features.