The 29-year-old, a veteran of six NFL seasons, is suffering from a hand injury he incurred in the team's surprising Thanksgiving Day loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Anzalone has been a critical cog in the Lions' defense, propelling them in what has thus far been one of the greatest seasons in team history. He's set new career highs in sacks (three) and quarterback hits (nine). His 87 tackles lead all Detroit players heading into play Sunday. Anzalone has been unable to practice all week because of the injury.
“Anytime you lose a player like Alex, if that's the case, it's not easy, but we do feel good about that room,” Lions head coach Dan Campbell told reporters earlier this week. “We're going to ask them to do what they do best, and I think they're going to do a good job for us this week.”
Anzalone spent the first three years of his NFL career with the Saints, who selected him in the third round (76th overall) out of Florida in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The 8-3 Lions currently sit in first place in the NFC North and third place in the NFC playoff picture. The 5-6 Saints are in a heated battle with the Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, and Seattle Seahawks for the conference's seventh and last playoff spot.
The Lions' Malcolm Rodriguez will most likely spell Anzalone as middle linebacker.