Lions getting healthy as Calvin Johnson nears return

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Before the bye week, the Lions were shorthanded in their victory over the Falcons in London.

Against the Dolphins this week, they could be closer to full strength, with several players having a few extra days to rest, rehab and recoup.

Receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle), running back Reggie Bush and tight ends Brandon Pettigrew (foot), Eric Ebron (hamstring) and Joseph Fauria (ankle) each missed the London game but each has a chance to return for Sunday's game against Miami at Ford Field.

Coach Jim Caldwell said Monday in his weekly news conference that their status remains unclear but they could be ready to come back.

"We'll have to wait and see. It'll be just like every week; it'll be a day-to-day thing until we're certain," he said.

"I'm not really certain. We'll have to put them through their paces and some guys are still being treated. Toward the end of the week, we'll have a little bit better idea. We'll direct you toward the injury report."

During a brief practice Monday, Johnson and Bush participated while Pettigrew, Ebron, Fauria and defensive tackle Nick Fairley (knee) all sat.

Johnson has missed the last three games after suffering a high-ankle sprain against the Bills, but the Lions have won all three since. Johnson said last week that he "definitely" looks forward to returning to play against the Dolphins.

Caldwell didn't have an update on Fairley, who reportedly suffered PCL and MCL injuries in the Falcons game and is expected to miss at least a month.

"Right now, he is under the doctors' care and their supervision. He's gotten a couple opinions and hopefully it will be one of those things where he can heal and we'll see what happens in a couple weeks and make a determination from there," Caldwell said.

It's still unclear whether Fairley's injuries are severe enough to end his season, but Caldwell and the medical staff haven't ruled out the chance that he could be done for the year.

"I'm not certain exactly where it is at this point in time — to be honest with you, nobody knows," Caldwell said. "There's anything that can happen. There can be an unbelievable turnaround or it can be length. We'll just have to wait and see."

C.J. Mosley, reinstated after a nine-day suspension for violating teams rules, is expected to start in Fairley's place. The Lions also added defensive tackle Andre Fluellen on Monday to provide depth at the position as Fairley recovers.