Lions' Calvin Johnson tests out ankle in practice
Bagshot, England — Despite sitting during the portion of practice open to the media Wednesday, Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson did participate on a limited basis, testing out a high-ankle sprain that's held him out of practice and games the past two weeks.
In addition to Johnson's return, right tackle LaAdrian Waddle was a surprise absence as he sat with a concussion Wednesday, the team's first practice at the Pennyhill Park Hotel and Spa as it prepares for Sunday's game in London against the Falcons. Waddle, though, was on the field watching, which is a good sign for how he's handling the NFL's concussion protocol.
Tight ends Brandon Pettigrew (foot), Eric Ebron (hamstring) and Joseph Fauria (ankle) also sat out, and neither Pettigrew nor Fauria were on the field during the open portion.
Coach Jim Caldwell said Wednesday Ebron and Fauria are "day to day" but rapidly improving. Fauria (ankle) hasn't played since Week 3, and Ebron (hamstring) missed last week's game. The expectation remains that Pettigrew (lower leg) will be available because he finished the last game, but behind him, the only options are Jordan Thompson and Kellen Davis.
Defensive end Ziggy Ansah was out, too, as he continues to deal with a toe injury
The Lions did welcome back running backs Reggie Bush (ankle) and Theo Riddick (hamstring) after they sat out all last week and missed the game, though both were limited.
Couplin in, Powell out
The Lions signed safety Jerome Couplin, who cleared waivers Tuesday, to the practice squad, and he arrived in time to practice.
Running back William Powell was released from the practice squad, a day after arriving in London.
"It's a difficult thing to do and you certainly do not want to do it," Caldwell said. "A guy just gets here and then within 48 hours he's heading back home.
"That's kind of the nature of our business. The guys understand it, and I think if you're up front and tell him exactly why and what the reasons are and those kinds of things, it's a bitter pill to swallow but they understand."