Detroit Lions targeting after Thanksgiving for Jameson Williams’ return from ACL injury

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams is nearing his return from a torn ACL and could be on the practice field for the first time later in November.

Lions coach Dan Campbell said Wednesday the team is hoping to start Williams’ practice clock sometime after Thanksgiving. Williams, the No. 12 pick of April’s draft, is on the non-football injury list.

“I think that’s tentatively what we’re looking at,” Campbell said. “I don’t know if that would the Jacksonville week or the week after. It could be next week, it’s just we’re not doing a ton, but he’s close.”

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Williams has not played since injuring his knee in Alabama’s national championship game loss to Georgia in January. The Lions drafted him knowing he would miss most of this season.

The Lions (3-6) visit the New York Giants on Sunday, then host the Buffalo Bills four days later after what will be a light week of practice before Thanksgiving.

Once players return to practice from the non-football injury list, they have 21 days before they must be activated to the 53-man roster or shut down for the season.

“It certainly won’t be this week and I don’t see, there again, him playing on Thanksgiving,” Campbell said. “But we’ll see where it goes. He’s progressing. There’s no setbacks.”

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The Lions have six games on their schedule after Thanksgiving, though Williams may need multiple weeks of practice before he plays in a game.

Second-round pick Josh Paschal took part in his first practice Oct. 5 after missing all of training camp following hernia surgery, and played for the first time Oct. 23 against the Dallas Cowboys, following the Lions’ bye week.

If Williams returns after Thanksgiving and follows a similar timeline, he would play in the Lions’ final four games against the New York Jets, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.

The Lions also started the return-to-play clock on injured receiver DJ Chark on Wednesday.

Chark has not played since a Week 3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings because of a foot injury. He told the Free Press when he went on injured reserve in October he expected to have a minimum four-week stay on IR.

Chark is eligible to return vs. the Giants.

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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