Ziggy Ansah's status as training camp observer will end Tuesday night. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah was taken off the physically unable to perform list Tuesday afternoon, but coach Jim Caldwell said he won’t play in Friday’s exhibition against the Oakland Raiders.
Ansah, the fifth overall pick in 2013, practiced Tuesday night for the first time since training camp began two weeks ago. He was on PUP while he recovered from shoulder surgery he underwent in February to correct an issue that dated back to his college days at BYU.
During camp, Ansah regularly worked with a trainer off to the side, and his activity ramped up more and more as camp progressed.
“He’ll be able to catch up pretty quickly,” Caldwell said. “Up front with four guys, it’s not really too different from what he’s accustomed to just in terms of knowing games and stunts and things of that nature.”
Ansah will be the starting end on the closed side, so some of his assignments may change. But Caldwell expects him to be ready to play soon.
“He’ll be ready to go in due time, but we’ll take out time and there will be a progression to it,” Caldwell said. “We’ll see how he comes along.”
The 6-foot-5, 271-pound Ansah led all rookies with eight sacks last season, and he will start opposite veteran Jason Jones in 2014. With Ansah, Jones and former first-round picks Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley on the interior, the Lions expect to have a strong defensive line this season and hope to improve on their 33 sacks in 2013, which ranked 28th in the NFL.
The defensive line struggled in the exhibition opener Saturday against the Cleveland Browns and was held without a sack in the 13-12 victory.
Start times shuffle
The Lions practiced at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, which is one of Caldwell’s way to prepare the players for the variety of start times during the seasons.
Training camp practice times have varied from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. this year.
“For me, I think it’s very, very important that you give your team as many opportunities as you can to get ready for challenges that they may face, and this is the time to do it during training camp,” Caldwell said. “We don’t have that luxury during the season. We usually practice at a set time, and it’s typically not at night.”
The Lions play the Raiders in Oakland at 10 p.m. Friday, but Caldwell said the players didn’t go through some of the sleep-pattern adjustments he would typically use during the regular season.
After practice Monday, the Lions took a field trip to a bowling alley, one more attempt to build camaraderie.
Although the rain and floods in the Allen Park area didn’t cause any problems on the drive to the alley, it made for a difficult drive back, Caldwell said. Luckily, the Lions were in a buses that allowed them to drive through a viaduct that forced cars to stop.
Players also didn’t return to the team hotel until 11 p.m. or later because they stayed at the facility waiting for roads to open. Many of the major roads and freeways near team headquarters were closed Monday night.
“There were some issues,” Caldwell said. “As a matter of fact, we were here at the facility a little bit longer because of the fact that the roads we blocked between here and the hotel in which we stay, so we had to wait a little while until the water subsided a little bit.”