ALLEN PARK -- As the Lions prepare to open their regular season Sunday afternoon in Tampa Bay, some lingering questions remain regarding a few injured players. Defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch is not one of those players.
Vanden Bosch had not played in the team’s final two preseason games with an injury that was termed as a ‘sore shoulder’. He also missed significant practice time over the last two weeks. However, Vanden Bosch returned to practice on Monday.
The 33-year-old showed the same high intensity you’d come to expect from him. Furthermore, he is a veteran player that the coaching staff isn't too concerned about having additional time off during training camp.
Head coach Jim Schwartz was asked about Vanden Bosch’s condition and with a confident tone, replied: "He practiced today".
Barring a separate injury or unforeseen setback, Vanden Bosch will start at defensive end during Sunday's season opener at Tampa Bay.
More good news on the injury front came from running back Maurice Morris.
Morris practiced today, without a cast, for the first time since the start of training camp.
“It`s been a whole lot better,” said Morris after practice. “It’s been one of those things - by missing the whole preseason - one of those things where I’m working my way through the week but other than that, it’s been good.”
Morris may receive a significant workload this week against Tampa Bay. The veteran back was the team’s leading rusher in last year’s Week 15 matchup against the Buccaneers, rushing 15 times for 109 yards and a touchdown, also adding three receptions for 10 yards.
With a healthy Jahvid Best, Morris’ touches may decline but he is still prepared for his number to be called.
“I go into the game and I don’t even think of my workload,” said Morris. “You got to approach every game the same, get ready for whatever. That’s how I’ve prepared my whole career.”
Also returning to practice today was cornerback Alphonso Smith. The third-year pro missed all of training camp and the preseason with a broken foot but is still a few weeks away from returning.
"Well he's not game ready yet,” said Schwartz. “It's still going to be a while for him but it's going to be sooner than six weeks so we wanted to get him back in the swing. He took some individual, took most of 7-on-7 and took a few reps in team. He's still got a ways to go to get back in the swing of things."
The injury update everyone is looking for is on rookie defensive tackle Nick Fairley. The truth is, there isn’t much of an update to provide.
The good news is – like tackle Jason Fox – Fairley is out of his walking boot. Still, he’s not participating in practice. Both players are still a few weeks away from returning.
"Nick and Jason Fox are still working their way back,” said Schwartz. “Both guys still have a little longer... Out of the boot but not out of the woods. They still have a lot to do. But they are doing more and more every day."