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Allen Park — Lions strong safety James Ihedigbo returned to practice Thursday, a sign that he's progressing as he tries to get back on the field.

Ihedigbo, who was limited, missed the previous game due to a quad injury that has hindered him the past few weeks, so even though he returned Thursday, there's no guarantee he'll play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field (1 p.m., FOX).

"He got a little bit better, but not quite where we'd like to see him," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said of how close Ihedigbo was to playing against the Bears. "Hopefully, this week he'll be all right."

If Ihedigbo can practice again Friday, that'd be a good sign for his availability against Minnesota.

With Ihedigbo back, tight end Brandon Pettigrew (knee/elbow), cornerback Josh Wilson (concussion) and linebacker DeAndre Levy were the only players sitting.

The Lions likely will be a much healthier team for Sunday's game than they were in the Week 6 overtime win over Chicago. Tight end Eric Ebron (knee) and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (calf) were full participants Thursday after being limited Wednesday and could return after missing the past two games.

Unfortunately, running back Joique Bell (ankle) was limited Thursday after practicing fully Wednesday, so it’s unclear if he’ll be back after missing the last three games.

Linebackers Josh Bynes (hip) and Tahir Whitehead and defensive end Jason Jones (neck) were also full participants after being limited Wednesday.

Running back Theo Riddick (groin) and punter Sam Martin (left knee) were both limited for the second straight day.

For the Vikings, defensive end Everon Griffen (illness) returned to practice fully Thursday after sitting Wednesday. Defensive tackle Shariff Floyd (knee/ankle) and defensive end Justin Trattou (foot) were out again.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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