Injured Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson was reported to be more active during practice on Oct. 23 -- three days before the Lions square off against the Atlanta Falcons in London. Johnson suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers and aggravated it in Week 5 against the Buffalo Bills, causing him to sit out the last two games.
Calvin Johnson is picking up the pace at Detroit Lions practice.
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Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official website reported on Oct. 23 that Johnson is looking good in the days leading up to Detroit's Week 8 game against the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 26. Twentyman spoke with Lions head coach Jim Caldwell who said his superstar wide receiver "came back feeling good":
"Wide receiver Calvin Johnson was limited for a second straight day Thursday, but was certainly a bigger participant Thursday than he was Wednesday in the portion of practice open to the media.
"Johnson had a helmet Thursday (he didn't have one Wednesday) and ran routes and was cutting on that high right ankle sprain.
"'The big thing is, typically when they ramp up their activity that way, the most important thing is what they feel the following day,' head coach Jim Caldwell said before Thursday's practice.
"And today he came back feeling good, so that's encouraging. We knew he was coming along and to have him have an opportunity to take part in a little bit of practice (Wednesday) was good. As they see it, they'll ramp him up a little bit more today and see how he looks tomorrow. We'll go from there.'
"Johnson said he did some straightforward running and began moving laterally on Wednesday and said Thursday things are 'moving in a positive direction.'
"A decision on whether he will play isn't likely to be made until right before Sunday's game vs. Atlanta at Wembley Stadium.
"'Like I said, it gets better and better, like right now it's getting better on a daily basis,' Johnson said. 'As long as we can keep up with that progression, we'll see.
"'We haven't pushed it too much, we don't want to get to that point where we get a setback. Like I said, it's getting better and better. I want to push it, but we are just trying to be smart about it. I'm trying to take good advice from our training staff that they're giving me and go with that.'"
ESPN Detroit Lions reporter Michael Rothstein also probed into Johnson's status entering Week 8:
"Calvin Johnson is more encouraged about his progress this week in returning from a high right-ankle sprain than he has been the past two weeks, when he has misssed back-to-back games for the Detroit Lions.
"He practice for the first time in two weeks on Wednesday, although on a limited basis, and said he has been moving better than in prior weeks. He was also able to practice Thursday.
"'Good. We're doing everything from straight-forward running to moving laterally as well,' Johnson said. 'Things are going good. We're moving in a positive direction.'
"However, he said a decision on whether he'll play could go all the way to Sunday inside Wembley Stadium.
"Lions coach Jim Caldwell said the most important thing to see is how Johnson responded Thursday. But Caldwell said the decision will come down to doctors.
"Johnson injured the ankle in the fourth quarter against (the) Green Bay (Packers) in Week 3 and then aggravated it Week 5 against (the) Buffalo (Bills), knocking him out for the pat two weeks."
The 29-year-old Johnson has caught for 9,676 yards and 68 touchdowns on 594 receptions in 111 career regular-season games with the Detroit Lions, per ESPN stats.
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