|Lions running back Mikel Leshoure, who is coming off a two-game suspension for drug-related incidents, returned to practice Wednesday. (Getty Images)|
Lions RB Mikel Leshoure returned to the practice field Wednesday after completing a two-game suspension for a pair of offseason drug-related incidents. He lined up with the second-team offense during skeleton drills open to media, and he split reps with RB Kevin Smith during positional drills.
Leshoure was unavailable for comment after the workout, and Lions coaches and players say they're unsure how much Leshoure will contribute to the Lions game plan. What they do say, however, is that they're excited to see the 2011 second-round draft pick take the field in a regular-season game.
“It's going to be interesting seeing him play,” QB Matthew Stafford said. “We haven't gotten a whole lot of chances to see him [in game action]. We'll see what he's comfortable doing. It's nice to have another body and some depth.”
Whatever role Leshoure plays, however, will be played for free. He was fined an additional two game checks as part of his discipline, meaning his first paycheck won't come until Detroit's bye week.
Schwartz praises Florence's toughness. Detroit placed CB Drayton Florence on injured reserve Wednesday with a designation to return. Florence, who was signed the Sunday before the regular season began, broke his forearm during Sunday's loss to the 49ers. Lions coach Jim Schwartz praised Florence's toughness, saying the veteran dealt with the pain of his injury to help Detroit's depleted secondary.
"I have a lot of respect for [Florence]," Schwartz said. “I thought he acquainted himself very well and the team needed him. We were so short of corners that he really couldn't come out of the game. He went and soldiered through. We didn't know it was broken until afterward because, mainly, he just didn't tell anybody.”
The designation to return is a new exception to the injured reserve rule that allows a team to remove an injured player from the active roster for an eight-week period to allow non-season ending injuries to heal. Florence will be eligible to return in Week 10. He was replaced on the roster by former Saints and Rams CB Jerome Murphy. The Lions claimed Murphy off waivers Tuesday and completed the transaction before Wednesday's workout.
Johnson misses Wednesday practice again: WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) did not participate in Detroit's workout Wednesday, marking his second-consecutive absence from the team's first practice of the week. While noteworthy because of his status as one of the league's marquee players, Johnson's absence isn't cause for concern. He was a full participant in the Lions' Thursday and Friday workouts in Week 2, and he played without incident Sunday. Johnson's limited practice schedule is simply an attempt by Schwartz to reduce wear and tear on one of his key offensive weapons.
Practice report: Johnson and Florence were two of eight players listed on Detroit's Wednesday practice report. Did not practice: Johnson, Florence, S Louis Delmas (knee), LB Travis Lewis (quad), TE Tony Scheffler (calf) and DT Corey Williams. Limited practice: CB Bill Bentley (concussion. Full Practice: CB Chris Houston (ankle).