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Allen Park — The Lions welcomed back two starters to practice Thursday.

After sitting out Wednesday, wide receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle) and running back Joique Bell (ankle) participated Thursday, but both were limited.

Johnson said earlier this week he feels fine, so he'll likely play Sunday against the New England Patriots, but Bell's status remains in question after suffering the injury on a carry late in the third quarter in a Week 11 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

"We'll see what happens today and take a look at him," coach Jim Caldwell said of Bell. "He's heading in the right direction."

If Bell is limited or can't play, the Lions will lean heavily on Reggie Bush and Theo Riddick against the Patriots, and George Winn could have a role as a power back. Bush (ankle) was limited for the second straight day after sitting the Arizona game.

Defensive end Jason Jones (family emergency) was also out Thursday, and his status for Sunday is up in the air. Defensive tackle Nick Fairley (knee) and right guard Larry Warford (knee) are out and won't play Sunday.

Tight end Brandon Pettigrew (foot) was limited after being a full participant Wednesday. Right tackle LaAdrian Waddle (knee) was limited for the second day in a row.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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