Lions-Bears matchup of the day: Saturday

Posted Nov. 12, 2011 @ 3:49 p.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into Sunday's battle between the Lions and Bears.

Lions' special-teams coverage vs. Bears' return units

Injuries could be a factor on special teams for both teams Sunday.

Lions PK Jason Hanson, who has made 17-of-18 field goals this season, is probable with a left knee injury that is affecting his plant leg and the team's punter, Ryan Donahue, is also ailing. Donahue tried to practice Friday, but was limited by a right quad injury, and the Lions signed P Robert Malone on Friday as insurance if Donahue can't go.

Malone punted for the Bucs last season, but has not played in a game this season. He does not kick off and it's not clear who will kick off for Detroit if Hanson is unable to handle those duties.

That's not an ideal situation heading into any game, and it's even more of a concern when one of the best returners in league history is the opponent, but Devin Hester did not practice Friday and is questionable with an ankle injury he suffered late in the Monday night win over the Eagles.

Johnny Knox, who went to the Pro Bowl as a kickoff returner in his rookie year, will likely handle kickoffs if Hester doesn't play and Earl Bennett is the top backup punt returner.

Hester has returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown this season, but he's averaged only 11 yards per kickoff return over the past two games and the Lions held him to one punt return for one yard in Week Five.

Follow Dan Parr on Twitter