Lions Reportedly 'Hopeful' Nick Fairley Will Make Debut Sunday

ALLEN PARK, MI - JULY 30: Nick Fairley #98 of the Detroit Lions walk onto the practice field during training camp at the Lions facility on July 30, 2011 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley practiced last Friday for the first time since breaking his foot way back at the start of August. While it was a good sign that he was able to hit the field, the thinking was he wouldn't be able to make his game debut for the Lions for at least another couple of weeks.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, we may not have to wait that long. Schefter reports that the Lions are "hopeful" that Fairley will be able to play on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. Schefter says Fairley would play on a limited basis, likely only coming into the game on select passing downs since the Lions would want to slowly ease him into the rotation.

Although Schefter did say the Lions will monitor Fairley throughout the week before making a decision about if he will play, I personally have a hard time believing we will see him in Dallas. The Lions have made sure not to rush him back all this time, and I don't really see the point in making him active if he is only going to be able to play on select passing downs.

Obviously if Fairley is ready to play, he should play. However, I just think the Lions will want him to go through a week of practice without being limited and take an extra week to get up to speed conditioning-wise. After all, Alphonso Smith has been practicing for a few weeks and he hasn't been active for a game yet. I just think the Lions will give Fairley another week to recover and let him make his debut in the Monday night game against the Chicago Bears.

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