It's a New Year's Day miracle!
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley surprisingly practiced on Thursday. This was his first appearance on the practice field since he injured his knee in London back in Week 8. Considering he was still limited, it seems unlikely that Fairley will be able to play on Sunday, but Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin isn't ruling out that possibility.
Lions DC Teryl Austin said DT Nick Fairley looked good today: "Shoot, maybe a miracle happens."— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) January 1, 2015
Austin said it might be worth it to have Fairley if he can play 5-7 plays because he can make game-changing plays.— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) January 1, 2015
Fairley is currently 290 pounds, so he's in good shape from a weight standpoint. From a conditioning standpoint, Fairley isn't quite ready for a full workload, which is why he would only be able to play a limited number of snaps even if he's active on Sunday. I suppose that's better than nothing, but it just seems like Fairley is at least another week away from being able to really contribute on defense. Of course, the Lions won't have another game in a week if they don't beat the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, but I can't imagine they will rush Fairley back just because it's the playoffs.
In any case, here's the Lions' full injury report for Thursday:
WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) - Fully practiced
OG Larry Warford (knee) - Did not practice
DE Darryl Tapp (not injury related) - Did not practice
DT Nick Fairley (knee) - Limited in practice