August 8, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Lions camp observations: Calvin Johnson, Eric Ebron return on eve of exhibition opener

Tight end Eric Ebron returned to the field Friday after a two-day absence because of an undisclosed injury. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)

Allen Park — The Lions made their final preparations for Saturday’s exhibition opener against the Cleveland Browns during Friday’s training camp, and two high-profile players returned to practice.

Wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who was absent for personal reasons Thursday, and first-round tight end Eric Ebron, who missed the past two days with an undisclosed injury, both returned to the field.

Running back Joique Bell, however, was absent for personal reasons, according to coach Jim Caldwell.

The 90-minute practice combined a short practice and walkthrough, and the reserve units had a lot of work, as they will in the game at Ford Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Caldwell said he’s not sure how long the first unit will play, but it was important to give the backups more practice time Friday.

“Because of the fact that you have so many guys that are playing, we have to make sure that the majority of them understand exactly where they’re going to be called upon and how which unit is going to be working and things of that nature,” Caldwell said. “We have to all coincide. Everybody’s got to stay alert because you just never know what’s going to happen over the course of these games.”

Here are some observations from Friday’s light practice:

■ In addition to Ebron and Johnson, offensive linemen Darren Keyton and Rodney Austin returned to practice after sitting Thursday.

■ Fourth-string quarterback James Franklin earned more reps but was far from perfect. He threw an interception to safety Isa Abdul-Quddus in an 11-on-11 drill that was well short of the target, and safety Don Carey also had an interception on a short pass.

■ Ebron looked to be healthy, running well after his catches.

■ The Lions continued to prepare for the read-option, and Franklin even made a pitch from a wishbone formation to receiver Patrick Edwards.

■ There were several slow-motion plays for offense, defense and special teams, so Caldwell is making sure everyone knows their assignments for Saturday.

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