Lions excited to have Hakim back

It appears likely that wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim will play this week for the first time since suffering a potentially career-ending hip dislocation in the 10th game of the 2002 season. Quotes from Joey Harrington, Hakim, and head coach Steve Mariucci inside.

It appears likely that wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim will play this week for the first time since suffering a potentially career-ending hip dislocation in the 10th game of the 2002 season.

In addition to rehabbing the hip injury, Hakim had to recover from a knee arthroscopy during training camp before getting back into the regular practice routine.

He thought he could have played Sunday at Green Bay but coach Steve Mariucci shot the idea down.

"I felt I was ready but I think Mariucci thought I would probably be better off getting another good week of preparation before they unleash me," Hakim said, grinning. "I think it was a smart decision."

Asked Wednesday to give reporters a recap of the injury and his recovery, Hakim refused, saying he is focused only on completing the comeback.

"We're playing this game that injuries are involved," he said. "My situation, I was able to come back almost a career-ending injury. I'm definitely excited about being back out there, I feel like a little kid again.

"Like walking down that tunnel, I mean it all meant something when we kicked off the season this year but it's a different deal when you're in full uniform. I can't wait."

Before suffering the hip injury in the Nov. 17 game against the New York Jets, Hakim had caught 37 passes for 541 yards and three touchdowns.

Mariucci and quarterback Joey Harrington both say they're looking forward to getting Hakim back into the lineup. He is expected to be back in the slot, where he was effective in four seasons at St. Louis before being signed by the Lions as an unrestricted free agent.

"He seems just as quick as ever," Harrington said. "I want to get him the ball in the slot there, get him the ball over the middle and see him shake a couple people like he used to. I'm excited to see him back on the field."

Mariucci said: "He adds some quickness. He's a different style of receiver than the taller Schroeder, Charles Rogers and Scotty Anderson, that size and that body-type of receiver.

"He's shorter and he's quicker. He's got a burst. He's very good in windows, he's good separating from man coverage, he's a smart player, he gives us a backup punt returner, he gives us a little experience."


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