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Matthew Stafford Returns to Practice; Jon Jansen Elevated to Starting LG?

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The Lions returned to practice on Tuesday after having the weekend off, and a few injured players who sat out on Friday were back on the field, joining their teammates for what probably was the practice with the most participation in at least the last few weeks.

The most notable player to return to practice was Matthew Stafford, who took approximately half of the reps on Tuesday.  He seemed to be happy with how his knee held up, though he didn't feel comfortable giving a percentage on how healthy he is.  Even if he had shared one, it wouldn't really mean anything until Wednesday's practice.  I say that because no one will really know how healthy Stafford is until his knee has a day to recover from Tuesday's practice.  If it swells up again, then chances are we will have to wait at least another week for Stafford's return to game action.  If it is fine and looks/feels like nothing happened on Tuesday, then the odds of him playing on Sunday greatly increase.  I don't want to get my hopes up just yet, but Tuesday brought more positive news on Stafford than I expected.

One of the other notable injured players, Calvin Johnson, did not return to practice on Tuesday.  He did do some running on the sideline, but that was about it for Megatron.  Calvin did say that he is "optimistic," but he also admitted that he's "not positive about what's going to happen."  The best thing to do with Calvin is take a wait and see approach.  If he suddenly feels well enough to practice sometime this week, he could also return to game action on Sunday against the Rams.

Staying on the topic of injuries, Dewayne White, Sammie Hill, and Ko Simpson all returned to practice on Tuesday as well.  Jerome Felton and Jason Hunter didn't get back on the field, but even so, it's nice to see so many of the injured players start to participate in practice again.  Hopefully that means that the Lions will be almost at full strength on Sunday, and as the season continues, hopefully it means that I will have to spend less time typing up the injury report each week.

One other thing I want to mention is unrelated to injuries, but it does involve a change to the starting lineup.  According to John Niyo, Jon Jansen "appears to be the new starting left guard," and Daniel Loper has shifted to right tackle to be Gosder Cherilus' backup.  It's obvious that the Lions want to find an offensive line combination that will work, so here's to hoping that Jansen is the answer at left guard, even though he has never started at a position other than right tackle in his career.