Lions defensive lineman Nick Fairley has an animated discussion with Ndamukong Suh during Week 1. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Allen Park — Every Friday morning, Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said he checks defensive tackle Nick Fairley’s weight.
Fairley, listed at 298 pounds, was 306 at the start of camp, down from 320 at mini-camp six weeks earlier. While Fairley appears to have put some of those pounds back on, Cunningham said anything gained from the start of camp is good weight.
Cunningham also said Fairley has been within a couple pounds of the team’s expected weight every week, but wouldn’t provide that number.
“There’s nothing ever going to change with his body, but he is strong,” Cunningham said. “And he’s fast. He just needs to get back into the groove, and I hope this is the week.”
The Lions likely don’t care how Fairley looks as long as he’s productive and available.
Fairley entered this season with high expectations after having 5.5 sacks, eight tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in 13 games last season.
He had 1.5 sacks and five tackles in a Week 1 victory over the Vikings, but since suffering a shoulder injury in that game, he hasn’t been the same.
After the injury kept him out Week 2, Fairley has four tackles the last three games, though he did return a fumble recovery for a touchdown against the Bears two weeks ago.
“He got hurt a little bit, and this last week he got better,” Cunningham said. “And he’s had a really good week of practice, so I think everything will be OK.
“I see his strength on the field and he looks a lot stronger again, so I think he’ll be ready to go.”
Cunningham also said he’s not concerned about Fairley’s lackadaisical performance during team stretches before practice, granted Fairley isn’t the only player guilty of taking it easy on lunges and other exercises.
“He is truly a throwback football player; he just lines up and plays,” Cunningham said. “He’s got a great personality. He just needs to finish on some things, and he will.”
Two players who suffered concussions last weekend — tight end Tony Scheffler and rookie running back Theo Riddick — were not at the practice facility Friday, coach Jim Schwartzsaid.
Both are out for Sunday’s game at Cleveland.
Schwartz said Scheffler and Riddick have come to the facility for testing this week, but haven’t stayed for practice.
This is Scheffler‘s third concussion in four years with the Lions.
Without Scheffler, rookie tight end Joseph Fauria will have an expanded role.
In Riddick’s place, running back Mikel Leshoure should be active. He’ll likely assume the No. 3 running back spot behind Reggie Bush and Joique Bell and fulfill Riddick’s duties on special teams.
Wide receiver Nate Burleson (forearm) is out, and right tackle Jason Fox (knee) is doubtful. Cornerback Chris Houston (hamstring), linebacker Ashlee Palmer (ankle) and safeties Louis Delmas (knee) and Glover Quin (ankle) are probable.
… Defensive end Israel Idonije was fined $15,750 for trying to leg-whip Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers last weekend, though he wasn’t flagged for the play. Suh and linebacker Tahir Whitehead did not receive fines for their respective penalties.