Lions get a new punter but might not face Devin Hester

It looks like Jason Hanson will be available for the Detroit Lions on Sunday, but they’ve been forced to sign a new punter for their NFC North showdown vs. the Chicago Bears.

But the Lions signed punter Robert Malone today and chances are he replaces Ryan Donahue, who is questionable with a right quad injury. According to the Detroit Free Press, Malone is “expected to take over” for the game.

The good news for the Lions might be that the Bears could be without ace return man Devin Hester. He is questionable with a sprained left ankle and has not practiced this week. The guess here is Hester does not play. Of course, the Bears have other quality returners, including Johnny Knox, who was a Pro Bowler in 2009.

Tackle Jason Fox was placed on injured reserve with a right knee injury.

The irony here for Donahue is he was hurt kicking in practice on Wednesday when Hanson was sidelined. He tried punting this morning but didn’t fare well. Malone played in 12 games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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