Should Lions risk putting Louis Delmas, Calvin Johnson back on the field Thursday?
Johnson, who has been listed as day-to-day with a sore knee, missed his second straight practice on Tuesday. He also sat out last week’s loss to the Cleveland Browns. However, Johnson claims that his knee has improved since he initially injured it in practice. The seventh-year wide receiver said earlier this week that there’s still a chance for him to play this week against the Patriots.
Fifth-year safety receiver Delmas shares those sentiments, though he too was on the sidelines Tuesday, after returning for only half a day’s practice on Monday. Delmas has practiced sparingly in training camp and has not appeared in a preseason game to this point.
So far, Lions coach Jim Schwartz has not arrived at a decision whether either of them will play in Thursday’s game.
"There is a balance there for sure. It would be an ideal situation to be able to get out on the field, but Lou's a guy that we're not evaluating from any other standpoint other than his health,” Schwartz said. “It would definitely be beneficial, but if that turns out to be the prudent choice then we're willing to make that choice.”
"We just have to take a look and do what's best for him physically, not have any other agenda,” Schwartz continued. “And I think if we let that be the guiding force then whatever decision we reach on these next couple games we'll make a good decision."
Meanwhile, Johnson’s return would certainly be a boon to a Lions offense that has struggled over the past two games. So far, the offense has just six first downs on seven series, with no touchdowns yet this preseason. However, Johnson doesn’t feel pressured to return to aid a struggling first-team offense. The 27-year-old just hopes to get some work done ahead of the Lions’ regular season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Sep. 8.
"We're going to be all right as an offense. My thing is just getting my wind right. It's going to be a long season,” Johnson said. “The better conditioned you are, the better you're going to be in that fourth quarter."