Haloti Ngata return would bolster Lions' D-line

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Allen Park — The Lions will likely be a much healthier team when they play the Vikings Sunday than they were for their first win in Week 6, but they're still missing a few key players at practice.

And one player, nick cornerback Josh Wilson (concussion), was a surprise addition to the list of absences.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (calf), tight end Eric Ebron (knee) and running back Joique Bell all practiced Wednesday after missing the previous game against Chicago. Ngata and Ebron, who were limited, actually missed the past two while Bell, a full participant Wednesday, sat the last three.

While the 1-5 Lions could use as many healthy players as possible, the return of Ngata would be especially important as the Lions welcome star Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson to Ford Field.

"Obviously, a guy that big with that kind of experience against a team that runs the ball a lot, there's no question he could help us," coach Jim Caldwell said Wednesday.

Unfortunately, the Lions were still without strong safety James Ihedigbo (quad) and tight end Brandon Pettigrew (knee), both of whom missed the game against the Bears.

Wilson was out with the brain injury despite playing through the final defensive snap on Sunday. His helmet came off on one play on the first drive of overtime, but he returned to play the next series.

Linebacker DeAndre Levy (hip) remains out and will miss an extended period of time.

In addition to Ebron and Ngata, linebacker Josh Bynes (hip), defensive end Jason Jones (neck), punter Sam Martin (left knee), running back Theo Riddick (groin) and linebacker Tahir Whitehead (shoulder) were limited.

Rookie cornerback Alex Carter (ankle) said last week he planned to practice this week as he's now eligible to practice after starting the year on injured reserve with designation for return. However, he was a spectator on Wednesday.