After sitting out the last three games due to an ankle injury, defensive end Ziggy Ansah is active today for the Lions against the Los Angeles Rams.
"It's hard not being out there and being able to help the team," Ansah said Friday. "But I've been making good progress and I'm looking forward to getting out there."
Ansah's return is good news for a Lions pass rush that's maintained pretty well without him, ranking ninth in the NFL with 12 sacks. Leading the way in Ansah's absence has been Kerry Hyder (5.0), who will continue to "play a lot," according to defensive coordinator Teryl Austin this week, even with Ansah returning. Ansah, Devin Taylor and Hyder form a nice trio on the edge for Detroit's defense.
The news is not so good for defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who left last's week win over Philadelphia with a shoulder injury and will not play today. Expect the combination of Khyri Thornton and A'Shawn Robinson to help fill the void on the interior of the defensive line.
Detroit's defense will also be without linebacker DeAndre Levy (quad/knee) for a fifth-straight contest.
On the other side of the football, running back Theo Riddick will miss his first game of the season because of an ankle injury. Riddick leads the Lions in rushing (171 yards), and is tops among all NFL running backs with 26 catches out of the backfield.
"If (Riddick) cannot go for whatever reason, we do have a number of guys that I think are capable of doing the things that we need to get done," head coach Jim Caldwell said this week.
"We may not do exactly the same things we do with him, but in terms of our offensive scheme, it doesn't shut down a whole area of our offense. We just have to maybe do it a little different way."
The Lions signed veteran running back Justin Forsett, 31, earlier this week to help stem the loss of Riddick. Forsett is expected to play a role in Detroit's backfield, especially with rookie running back Dwayne Washington also inactive with an ankle injury. "Veteran guy, been around the league, carried the ball a bunch, really does a lot of things well," offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said of Forsett on Thursday. "We've looked at him on tape a bunch and it's sort of we're getting a feel for him here in the building in practice.
"We're excited to have him here and excited to sort of see what kind of role he develops for himself and hopefully he fits right in and does some nice things for us."
Washington injured his ankle a couple weeks ago in Chicago and missed last week's game vs. the Eagles. His and Riddick's absence leaves the Lions with just Forsett and second-year back Zach Zenner as the only healthy active running backs today.
Forsett and Zenner will be running behind a new-look offensive line due to injury.
Right guard Larry Warford has been dealing with a hip injury this week that kept him off the practice field on Thursday and Friday. Warford worked out pregame in front of offensive line coach Ron Prince, strength and conditioning coach Harold Nash Jr., head trainer Kevin Bastin and general manager Bob Quinn, when it was determined Warford would not play. Expect rookie Graham Glasgow to play in his place.
Detroit will also be without the services of tight end Eric Ebron (ankle) for a second-straight week.
Joining Levy, Ngata, Riddick, Washington, Warford and Ebron on the Lions' inactive list is cornerback Adairius Barnes.