Smith returns to practice, optimistic

Harrison Smith returned to practice but didn’t take as many reps as usual. Still, he looks on track to play Sunday against the Detroit Lions. That injury update and more from the Vikings and Lions inside.

Harrison Smith worked his way back onto the field and is presenting a strong case for his ability to play Sunday against the Detroit Lions.

Smith sprained his left ankle during last Thursday’s blowout loss to the Green Bay Packers. He was in a walking boot and using crutches last Friday, but had shed them both this week. He didn’t practice on Wednesday but returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis.

“It was pretty good. I’m just trying to get my footing and see how it feels. It went pretty well,” Smith said after practice.

“I practiced like normal, just not as many reps.”

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he is still optimistic Smith will be able to play and said Smith looked good in practice.

“He’s healed pretty quick. It’s been good. And he’s tough,” Zimmer said. “He’s a tough guy.”

Besides missing the final eight snaps of the season opener when the second-string defenders were put in, Smith had missed just one snap this season and said earlier in the week it pains him to miss a game.

He is second on the team with 41 tackles, is tied for the NFL lead with three interceptions, has one sack, one tackle for loss, two quarterback hurries and six passes defensed.

“Harrison’s a true professional. He comes to work every day, does a good job of communication with us defensively,” defensive coordinator George Edwards said. “He makes plays for us in the game. He transfers from the practice field to the game. He’s been pretty consistent for us all year. That’s what he brings to the table for us.”

While Smith is optimistic he will return to play Sunday against the Detroit Lions, he was far from the only injury concern for the Vikings. Here is a look at their other injuries:

  • LB Chad Greenway didn’t practice again on Thursday and hasn’t practiced all week while trying to work his way back from three broken ribs and a broken hand. Zimmer said earlier this week that the hand injury wasn’t as big of an issue for Greenway anymore as the ribs. “We’re going to see where he’s at tomorrow in practice,” Zimmer said Thursday.

  • WR Cordarrelle Patterson was limited for the second straight day with a rib injury. “I’ve been getting treatment daily, in and out. So, you know, it’s good man,” Patterson said. “The way the trainers helping me out in there, man, they’re doing a pretty good job and I can’t wait ’til Sunday and see how I feel.”

  • DT Sharrif Floyd was also limited for the second straight day with an elbow injury.
  • TE Kyle Rudolph continues to rehabilitate after having surgery to repair a sports hernia and hasn’t practiced since the surgery on Sept. 23. He said earlier this week nothing has changed on the original six-week timeline for his recovery.

  • For the Lions, WR Calvin Johnson continued to sit out with an ankle injury that is reportedly a high ankle sprain and RB Reggie Bush also hasn’t practiced this week with his own ankle injury.

  • TE Joseph Fauria (ankle) and LB Travis Lewis (quadriceps) haven’t practiced yet this week, either. S Jerome Couplin (ribs) returned to practice on a full-time basis Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. RB Joique Bell (concussion), RB Theo Riddick (hamstring) and CB Cassius Vaughn (ankle) have practiced fully all week.

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