Notebook: Lacey, Florence return to practice

Posted Oct 31, 2012

Cornerbacks Jacob Lacey and Drayton Florence participated in practice Wednesday for the first time since suffering injuries Week 6 and Week 2, respectively.

Cornerback Jacob Lacey hasn’t practiced since suffering a concussion at Philadelphia Oct. 14.

Fellow cornerback Drayton Florence hasn’t been on the practice field since breaking his forearm in San Francisco Week 2.

Both players returned to the field Wednesday.

“I haven’t been able to do anything in a couple weeks and just getting my feet up under me and stuff and coming back into it was good,” said Lacey, who's missed the last two games.

Lacey suffered the concussion when he took a knee to the helmet trying to make a tackle on a running play.

“It’s scary anytime you’re dealing with your brain,” Lacey said. “You get a little nervous about what can happen later down the line. Right now you’re just a little dinged up and miss a couple weeks, but as far as down the line, I was a little concerned.”

Lacey has been cleared to practice and expect him to start opposite Chris Houston this week at Jacksonville. Cornerback Bill Bentley remains out with a shoulder injury, so rookie Jonte Green is in line to be the extra cornerback in the nickel.

Florence was back on the practice for the first time Wednesday, as allowed by his short-term reserve/injured designation.

Florence played through the pain of a broken forearm in that 49ers loss and the team placed him on its reserve/injured list with a designation to return shortly after, which allows him to miss eight weeks and still play again this season. Florence is fully healed from surgery and will be eligible to return to play against the Packers on Nov. 18.

The Lions started the season 1-3 and have been fighting to get their heads above water ever since. After last week’s 28-24 win over Seattle improved their record to 3-4, the Lions can reach the coveted break-even point Sunday in Jacksonville.

“I think we all know this is a big one not only, you know, for the record as far as being able to get back to .500, but it’s the next one,” Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said.

“This is a team that is very dangerous and people are going to look at their record and say they’re 1-6 or whatever. But this team can play, especially on the defensive side of the ball.”

The Jaguars held reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers to under 200 yards passing for only the 11th time in his career last week and they were in that game late in the fourth quarter in Green Bay.

Coincidentally, the Lions and Stafford are coming off their best offensive performance of the season.

“I think you've got to create momentum,” Stafford said of last week’s 352-yard, three-touchdown performance. “You’ve got to do it more than once, you know? You win a game, that’s not going to give you momentum. You win two, three, four, that’s when you start picking it up.

“We understand we have a lot of work to do between now and Sunday. It’s an unfamiliar opponent and a team that’s a lot better than their record so we have a lot of work to do between now and Sunday but it’s obviously nice to get a win last week.”

The Jaguars have lost four consecutive games, but if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s been the recent play of second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Gabbert, the No. 10-overall pick in last year’s draft, had the best game of his 21-start career last week throwing for a career-high 303 yards and a touchdown in a loss to the Packers.

“He’s still a young player,” Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said of Gabbert. “It’s difficult for any young player to come in and have success right away. He certainly has a good arm. He threw for 300 yards last week. They’ve been building talent around him in his first two years.

“He’s had a different head coach and coordinator in both of those years also. So I think we’ve seen some of those situations where it can be hard to really get a good base to start. It doesn’t take very long to look and see the talent; see the reasons that they drafted him.”

Over his past two games, Gabbert hasn’t thrown an interception and has a passer rating of 89.0. Two weeks ago the Jaguars lost in overtime to the Raiders.

Running back Mikel Leshoure was absent from Wednesday’s practice for personal reasons, according to head coach Jim Schwartz, and not because of any injury.

Leshoure left last week’s game in the third quarter, was attended to by trainers and did not return, but Schwartz said after the game that his absence for the remainder of the game was not injury related.

Schwartz said Leshoure will be back on the practice field Thursday.