Wide receiver DJ Chark returned to the practice field Wednesday.
Detroit's biggest free agent acquisition this past offseason, Chark was placed on injured reserve Oct. 22 with a left ankle injury, the same ankle he fractured last year while playing in Jacksonville.
He played the first three games with the Lions this year, catching seven passes for 98 yards, but then missed the team's next two games against Seattle and New England before being placed on IR ahead of Detroit's Week 7 game in Dallas.
When a player is placed on IR in-season, the minimum number of games he must miss is four, which Chark has (Dallas, Miami, Green Bay and Chicago).
"We are going to let him run around today. We are going to start his clock," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said Wednesday before practice. "Just let him do some individual work today and see how he feels."
The Lions now have 21 days to determine if he can return this season or stay on IR the rest of the way. Chark is eligible to return to the active roster Nov. 19, the day before the Lions' game against the New York Giants on Sunday.
The Lions have missed Chark's speed and downfield playmaking threat on offense.
The team also started the practice clock of veteran defensive lineman Romeo Okwara by having him return to practice Wednesday. Okwara suffered an Achilles injury Week 4 last year and didn't take part in the offseason training program or training camp. He has been on the Reserve/PUP list the first 10 weeks of the season.
Like Chark, the Lions now have 21 days to activate him to roster. Okwara led the Lions in sacks with 10.0 in 2020 and his return to the lineup would be a welcome addition upfront for the Lions' defense.
WILLIAMS MAKING PROGRESS
Campbell said rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams could start practicing for the first time sometime after Thanksgiving, whether that's the Jacksonville week or the week after ahead of Minnesota Dec. 11. Campbell said it potentially could be Thanksgiving week but given how the team doesn't do a ton at practice on the short week it might not make the most sense.
"He's close," Campbell said of Williams. "It certainly won't be this week and I don't see him playing for Thanksgiving, but we'll see where it goes. He's progressing. There are no setbacks."
New York Giants nose tackle Dexter Lawrence (6-4, 342) is having production not typically seen from the position.
With a sack, five quarterback hits and nine total pressures last week in New York's win over Houston, Lawrence now has five sacks and 16 quarterback hits on the season, both new career highs for the fourth-year defensive lineman. He's got 35 pressures on the year.
To complicate things for the Lions, center Frank Ragnow didn't practice Wednesday as he continues to deal with a toe injury that's hindered him most of the season.
"He's a force in there," Lions offensive line coach Hank Fraley said of Lawrence. "They are all playing well, but he's playing particularly well. He pushes the pocket. He can stop the run. He can eat it up inside and he puts you all the way back to the quarterback with the way he's sacking guys. He really is disruptive in there. We've got our hands full inside ... he's definitely a flash on the film."