Allen Park — Based on coach Jim Caldwell's comments Friday, the Lions are hoping for something supernatural to occur for wide receiver Calvin Johnson to play Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
"I've been surprised before because he's an unusual guy and just talking to him yesterday after practice, he's feeling good and coming along," Caldwell said.
The coach continued, though, "Miracles have happened."
The Lions must've received some good news about Johnson's high ankle sprain Friday as he's listed as questionable for the game, meaning there's technically a 50-50 chance he'll play.
Rookie tight end Eric Ebron, meanwhile, is doubtful, and Saints All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham is questionable despite reports last Sunday saying he'd be out two or three games.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell hints that WR Calvin Johnson could be available for Sunday's game against the Saints, but it would take something like to a miracle.
Caldwell said the Lions prepared this week with the expectation the Saints would be at full strength. The Lions have enough injury concerns of their own to worry about whether or not Graham will be available.
Running back Theo Riddick (hamstring) is doubtful, but with Reggie Bush (ankle) probable, the Lions should feature Bush and Joique Bell Sunday against their former team. Linebacker Travis Lewis (quad) and tight end Joseph Fauria (ankle) are out, which leaves the Lions with one healthy tight end as of Friday.
Practice squad tight end Jordan Thompson will likely be promoted to the 53-man roster Saturday to give the Lions a healthy backup, but Pettigrew could play a bigger role in the passing game, too, despite having just five catches for 40 yards on eight targets in the first six games.
"He's more than capable, and I think if that does indeed happen he would relish the opportunity to kind of show what he can do in that area as well," Caldwell said of Pettigrew.
Pettigrew said he's ready for whatever role he has Sunday.
"I'm acceptable of that role whether it's block or pass," he said. "It's nice to get a few passes every now and then, but for the most part, we're just trying to get the win."
Caldwell said he offered Ebron some advice the other day at team headquarters and hopes he can return soon.
"I was talking to Ebron walking down the hall, and he had kind of a glum look on his face," Caldwell said. "He's dealing with a nagging injury, and I told him, 'Hey, you've got to start smiling. Attitude helps you heal quicker. It's a proven fact.'"
If the Lions promote Thompson Saturday, he'd be the fifth practice squad player promoted this season due to injuries with running back George Winn, linebacker Julian Stanford, cornerback Mohammed Seisay and safety Nate Ness being active already in 2014.
"One of the unique things about where we are right now is we've kind of always said if you're on a practice squad you should stay ready so you don't have to get ready," Caldwell said.
Thompson is 6-foot-4, 257 pounds and hasn't played in an NFL game since going undrafted out of Ohio in 2013.
"He's one of those guys that's been studying from Day 1," Caldwell said. "He's very diligent in his preparation, he knows exactly what to do, understands his role if he does happen to get called up and he's a guy that can run and catch."