Coordinator Scott Linehan on Ryan Broyles: 'I think he's ready for a full load now.' (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Allen Park -- The Lions didn't plan to use second-year slot receiver Ryan Broyles in September, but Nate Burleson's broken forearm forced him into a bigger role last month.
Now that it's nearly mid-October, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said he expects Broyles to be ready to handle a full slate -- 10 months removed from a torn ACL suffered last December.
"I think he's ready for a full load now," Linehan said. "And he's right on track, so we're real happy that he's been able to get this time and progress -- and certainly if somebody else isn't available, his availability is going to be leaned on a little bit more."
Lions receiver Calvin Johnson (knee) practiced on a limited basis Thursday, and his status for Sunday's game against the Browns remains uncertain. Tight end Tony Scheffler (concussion) might be out, too, so the Lions could rely more on Broyles.
In his Week 3 debut with Burleson still active, Broyles played just 17 snaps, but had three catches for 34 yards. In Week 4 with Burleson out, he played 41 snaps, but wasn't targeted.
Last week Broyles' snaps decreased to 27, but he said that had more to do with the game plan than his health. He had two catches for 27 yards.
"I just go out there and do my job, and whenever they need me, I just do the best with it," Broyles said. "But any guy in this locker room would want to start and play every play though.
"If the opportunity comes, you make the best of it. If not, then you play your role."
Broyles said when he arrived at training camp the team's plan was for him to make an October return. In August, Broyles thought he felt good, but admits he wasn't as healthy as he is now.
During his final season at Oklahoma in 2011, Broyles tore the ACL in his left knee in November, and although he played in Week 3 in 2012, he didn't have a catch until Week 7.
Broyles still goes through rehabilitation on his right knee every day and said he's still working on his timing with quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Linehan said coverage dictated Broyles' lack of targets (five in three games) more than his health so far this season.
When Broyles is ready for a full game, he should have plenty of opportunities. In the Lions’ first three games, Burleson led the team with 19 receptions.
"We throw the ball a lot," Broyles said. "The balls are going around, so whenever a guy gets in, make the best of it. If I could get 100 passes a game, I would take that, but it obviously doesn't work that way.
"The only think I have control over is when it comes my way, I just make the best of it."