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Eric Ebron returns to Lions practice

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Eric Ebron

Allen Park – The Detroit Lions got good news Tuesday with the return of tight end Eric Ebron to the practice field.

Ebron had been sidelined since Aug. 6, when he suffered a leg injury and needed to be carted off during the team’s mock game at Ford Field. Initial speculation, spurred by an NFL Network report, suggested he had suffered an Achilles injury that would end his season. Instead, he missed a little more than two weeks.

While he was back in uniform, Ebron’s activity was still limited during the portion of practice open to the media. It would be surprising if he team pushes him into action for the third exhibition game, this Saturday against the Ravens in Baltimore.

The former first-round pick had 47 receptions for 537 yards and five touchdowns last season. He is expected to have an even bigger role in the offense this year, especially with Brandon Pettigrew still working his way back from an ACL tear.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell declined to comment on whether Pettigrew is expected to be ready for the regular season or will remain on the physically unable to perform list to open the campaign.

While Ebron was out, undrafted rookie Cole Wick played the majority of snaps with the first-team offense, with Orson Charles and veteran Matthew Mulligan also getting some work in that role.

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“Played with a lot of different guys this preseason and in practice, so it’s been good for me to have to adjust to guys on the fly and really just trust myself and put the ball where I think it needs to be put and those guys are doing a good job,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said when asked about life without his top two tight ends.

Also returning to practice for the Lions Tuesday were wide receiver Golden Tate, cornerback Crezdon Butler and safety Don Carey.  Offensive tackles Michael Ola and Corey Robinson, rookie center Graham Glasgow, linebacker Jon Bostic and safety Isaiah Johnson sat out the session.

Ola has been out for a week after suffering a leg injury during last Tuesday’s practice that was interrupted by heavy rains. Robinson hasn’t practiced since Thursday’s exhibition game against the Bengals, when he played a team-high 45 snaps.

If those injuries linger, the team could need to make a roster move before heading to Baltimore. Even with the starters expected to play approximately half the game, the Lions have just four healthy offensive tackles.

It’s also potentially a big opportunity for Cornelius Lucas, who after two seasons with the Lions, is fighting for a roster spot.