ALLEN PARK -- Injuries on the offensive and defensive line have been a story line throughout training camp for the Detroit Lions. However, there are some reasons for optimism.
Rookie defensive tackle Nick Fairley was at practice today and had a protective boot on his left foot. That doesn't sound too significant but it is a clear sign that he is on the road to recovery.
It also represents an improvement from the crutches he was using recently.
"He got the cast off of his foot so now he's in a walking boot so now he can walk around," said head coach Jim Schwartz. "You can't have a guy that's on crutches that can't walk around out there. So it's just a natural thing for him.
"He's done a good job in our meetings and did a good job in the weight room and doing what he can do. When he's healthy he's going to be ready."
There is still not exact time table for Fairley's return, although it's assumed he could return by the start of the regular season. The same can be said for starting left tackle Jeff Backus, who is recovering from a pectoral injury.
Backus is said to be progressing well in his recovery and may be ready to start the season opener. In his absence, Corey Hilliard has taken reps as starting left tackle as well as started Friday's preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Hilliard has looked good in camp and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has been pleased with his performance.
"I think he's playing really well," said Linehan. "I was really encouraged with our tackles, especially the fist unit, in that game.
"They didn't play very much but when they played it was pretty quality. I thought Corey was one of the highlights of the game. "
The Lions allowed no sacks in Friday night's contest.