For the first time since injuring his throwing shoulder in the team's season opener, Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford practiced with his teammates on Friday.
The better news? He hasn't been declared 'out' for Sunday's contest against the New York Giants.
"We’re probably ahead of ourselves there, just talking about it, but we’ll see Sunday," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said following the team's afternoon practice session. "If he is able to get back, it has shown that he’s right on track and he’s healthy enough to be able to be in a game.
"But let’s wait until Sunday before we start ... let’s not get ahead of ourselves."
It has been assumed that Stafford, who suffered a slight shoulder separation when he was hogtied by Bears' defensive end Julius Peppers in a week one loss at Chicago, would be held out until after the team's bye week next weekend. At least for precautionary reasons, anyway. The Lions had renowned sports physician Dr. James Andrews evaluate Stafford in September, and once surgery was deemed unnecessary, the team employed a baby-step routine that they've followed diligently.
On Friday, Stafford tossed lightly to teammates throughout practice.
Without Stafford, the Lions dropped three contests, but the offense has maintained a more than satisfactory level of play behind back-up Shaun Hill.
Given Stafford's inability to practice, and Hill's hot hand, it remained unlikely -- but not impossible -- that the team could welcome the return of its franchise player.
And at the very least, give the New York Giants something else to think about.
"We're not going to make any announcements yet," Schwartz said.
Since the media won't have access to the team until kick-off, it becomes a game-time decision.
Notebook: Schwartz also said that receiver Calvin Johnson continues to improve from his own shoulder injury suffered last week. Johnson is likely to play on Sunday.
"Where he’ll be Sunday we really don’t know right now," Schwartz said. "But he’s improved every single day so far. He hasn’t had any setbacks."