Lions rookie Alex Carter counting down the days to return

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Alex Carter

Allen Park — It didn't take Alex Carter long to answer a question last Thursday about whether he was counting down the days until he could practice again.

"Eleven," the Lions rookie cornerback said.

By Wednesday, Carter said the countdown was down to five days, referring to the Lions' walkthrough next Monday, but his first true regular-season practice in the NFL will come next Wednesday, as he said he's been cleared medically to return at the first possible practice while he's on injured reserve with designation for return.

A third-round pick in May, Carter can't make his professional debut until Week 10, after the Lions' bye week, but after his longest injury-related football absence, he's excited to return.

And when he takes the field next Monday with his teammates, Carter will be celebrating his 22nd birthday, too.

"I'm ready to go," he said.

Stafford says he's 'moving on' from first benching ever

Carter suffered an ankle injury the week before training camp. He appeared briefly in a couple practices later in the summer, but after missing all four exhibition games, the team used its short-term IR spot on him, holding him out for a minimum of eight games.

To recover, Carter said he's been spending a lot of time in the training room and icing his ankle while resting at home. As he's watched the Lions fall to 0-5, he said he's focusing on trying to learn from the team's mistakes during meetings.

Although he doesn't know what his role will be upon returning, Carter hopes to have many opportunities to showcase his talents.

"Definitely a lot of special teams and hopefully some defensive reps," he said.