Delmas Returns, Pettigrew Sidelined

Lions safety Louis Delmas (getty)

Rookie safety Louis Delmas returned to the practice field on Tuesday after missing over a week due to a nagging knee injury. More inside from Lions training camp ...

Rookie safety Louis Delmas returned to the practice field on Tuesday after missing over a week of camp due to swelling in his knee.

Delmas quickly joined the action on the field, participating in both individual and team drills.

He was noticeably absent in Saturday's win over Atlanta; the first-year player out of Western Michigan, nicknamed "Da Missile," is expected to start in Detroit's defensive backfield.

"He's feeling better; he's moving well. I'm glad where he is right now because we took a real cautious approach to him, got his knee right and got him back on the field," said Lions head coach Jim Schwartz on Tuesday. "The thing with Louis is he did a really good job of staying involved and that's hard for a rookie to do.

"Usually rookies learn through reps on the field, but he did a really good job of stepping up every single practice, and every single meeting and played it through his eyes a little bit rather than his feet.

"What happens when he does that (is) he's able to go back into practice and look like he never missed a day and that's what happened today."

The news wasn't as optimistic for fellow rookie and teammate Brandon Pettigrew (quadricep).


Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew will miss Saturday's tilt at Cleveland, and possibly longer, if his quadriceps injury fails to improve. (AP Photo)

Another potential starter at the tight end position, Schwartz dumped Pettigrew's day-to-day injury status (which has been in effect since the first week of training camp) in exchange for a more protracted absence.

The 6-5, 257-pounder won't play at Cleveland on Saturday, but Schwartz wouldn't rule out a possible return by the team's third preseason game on August 29.

"We have done a lot of tests on (the quad), we've consulted a lot of different people. It has been a nagging thing, and it hasn't responded as well as we would have hoped," explained Schwartz. "(We'll) probably take a little longer term approach with an idea of trying to get him back, but rather than everyday try and get him back on the field, he just wasn't ready."

Like Delmas, however, Pettigrew is maintaining a teacher's pet presence even without onfield repetitions.

Schwartz was also convinced that Pettigrew's absence wouldn't have any lingering affects

"He's good in the classroom, he's up on all his stuff and I wouldn't be surprised when he's back in practice that he steps right in and it's like he never missed a day."

Added Schwartz, "The thing with Brandon is that he really wants to be out there and he feels the responsibility to his teammates and that's a very, very difficult position to be in because he feels like he's letting the team down by not being out there.

"That, like I said, is the fine line between trying to race back too soon and then waiting until you're ready."

MORE INJURY NOTES: Schwartz was sparse on details, but veteran placekicker Jason Hanson underwent "minor" knee surgery on Tuesday. Schwartz, who considered the injury more "nagging" than serious, hoped to have Hanson return soon, which should happen just prior to the start of the regular season.

Said Schwartz, "It was just a minor procedure and the idea was, rather than let it linger and turn into something that was going to nag him all season – which it most likely would have – we decided to do it now while we had a little bit of time and give him some time to recover and take the pressure of having to handle that during the season."

The Lions brought back recently waived kicker Swayze Waters to serve in the interim. The Lions placed veteran LB Cody Spencer (torn ACL) on injured reserve to make room for Waters.

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