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Ihedigbo joins full quartet of TEs at Lions practice

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

The Lions should have their full complement of tight ends for the first time since Week 3 this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, but there was also good news for the defense at practice Friday.

Strong safety James Ihedigbo, who missed practice Thursday with a back injury, returned to the field Friday, and is probable to play.

"Everyone wants to know about my back? Well, I'm back," Ihedigbo said Friday.

Running back Reggie Bush (ankle) is questionable after missing practice all week. Guard Larry Warford (knee) and defensive tackle Nick Fairley (knee) are out.

All other injured Lions players are probable, including tight ends Eric Ebron (hamstring) and Joseph Fauria (ankle). After practicing fully all week, Ebron and Fauria give the Lions four options at tight end Sunday along with Brandon Pettigrew and Kellen Davis.

Ihedigbo was a surprise addition to the injury report Thursday after practicing Wednesday, and his ailment was unrelated to an injury that held him out for three plays in a Week 10 win over the Miami Dolphins. The starting strong safety said he woke up with back pain and worried it was a rib injury, but it was a muscle injury from which he quickly recovered.

"It was the worst," he said. "I literally woke up and it hurt to breathe."

Ihedigbo missed the first three games with a nerve injury in his neck. The Lions went 2-1 without him, but he's played a big role in their 5-1 run since returning, contributing 36 tackles, five for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception.

"He's one of those guys that just has a great feel and knack for his position, but he also has, I think, the ability to exponentially empower the others around him as well," coach Jim Caldwell said. "He's a guy that brings a lot of energy to the game, and obviously the knowledge helps as well."

For the Cardinals, defensive tackle Ed Stinson is out, linebacker Desmond Bishop is questionable and all other injured players are probable.