Lions’ T.J. Lang returns, has catching up to do

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
T.J. Lang

Allen Park — After a week off, veteran T.J. Lang returned to the practice field Wednesday, slotting back into his role as the Lions’ starting right guard.

The Lions have been extremely cautious with Lang this offseason. A prized addition in free agency, he’s still working his way back from offseason hip surgery. And despite the week off, which included sitting for the preseason opener, the team gave no indication he’d suffered a setback during his recovery.

“His progress has been great,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said.

The concern is how much the missed practice time is affecting his ability to build chemistry with new teammates Travis Swanson and Rick Wagner, another free-agent signing in his first year with the Lions.

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Lang, an accomplished veteran who started 91 games for the Packers the past six seasons, might not need much time to get fully acclimated, but certainly needs more work to both get up to speed and build up the necessary endurance to play 70 snaps when the Lions open the regular season in less than a month.

Caldwell said the team will continue to be patient as it works toward that target.

“It’s whatever they need to get ready, and that will vary,” Caldwell said. “I think that it depends on the individual. He’s been around, he’s played in this league, but he also has to get ramped back up to be ready to go in Week 1. We’ll do it in a methodical fashion with some prudence, but he’ll be ready come game time.”