Darius Slay and Travis Swanson practicing for Lions; Theo Riddick and Andre Roberts not practicing

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Something Lions fans have been waiting to hear: cornerback Darius Slay is back on the practice field. Also joining him in an attempt to return to the lineup is center Travis Swanson, who is also back with the team in practice. Swanson has missed the last three games while battling a concussion.

In Swanson’s absence, rookie Graham Glasgow has admirably filled in, but has also shown flashes of inexperience. Slay, who suffered a hamstring injury two weeks ago in the team’s loss against the New York Giants, missed Monday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. In that game, Dez Bryant found his way into the end zone twice.

Running back Theo Riddick (wrist) and wide receiver/returner Andre Roberts (shoulder) have both missed practice this week.

No designations have been made regarding the playing status of any of these players for Sunday’s tilt with the Green Bay Packers, but having Slay and Swanson back in practice is a step in the right direction for both players.

With the hot play of Aaron Rodgers of late, and star wideout Jordy Nelson coming to Ford Field this weekend, to say that the Lions want Slay back on the field would be an understatement.

Earlier this week, Nelson said in a conference call that the Packers expect to see Slay in action this weekend. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy then joked that he shouldn’t rush back from an injury that has hampered him this season.

“He’s a heck of a player. I just love the way he plays,” said McCarthy. “I think it’ll be important that Darius, you know, he probably needs to rest that hamstring to get ready for next week. But no, he’s a big-time player.”

All the chips will be on the table on Sunday when the Lions host the Packers, as the NFC North division championship is on the line. With a loss, either team can still qualify for the playoffs, but would need a loss from the Washington Redskins as well.