Lions’ Caldwell optimistic Ansah can return for opener

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — The regular season is fast approaching and the Detroit Lions are still without star defensive end Ziggy Ansah. He remains on the physically unable to perform list, with an undisclosed injury, leaving the fan base wringing their hands.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell can’t definitively say Ansah will be back when the Lions welcome the Cardinals to Ford Field for a Week 1 matchup, but Caldwell remains optimistic.

“I’m not a soothsayer. I’m not a prognosticator,” Caldwell said. “I can’t tell the future. I can’t predict that. I feel good about it, but anything can happen these days. You just don’t know.”


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On Tuesday, Ansah was spotted doing some light jogging on the side with a trainer, his first physical activity on the field since the start of training camp.

Once he does get cleared, the question becomes, how long will it take him to get back up to speed? Even though he hasn’t done any football activities since the team’s June minicamp, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is confident Ansah will hit the ground running.

“No, he’s been here and he’s played thousands and thousands of snaps for us,” Austin said. “I don’t worry about that.”

Ansah labored through a high-ankle sprain last season, sapping his productivity. He appeared in 13 games, but finished with just two sacks, a year after racking up 14.5.

His individual struggles were a significant factor in the team’s pass-rush struggles. The Lions finished near the bottom of the league in both sacks and quarterback hurries.