Bly participates in practice
Cornerback expects to return for Sunday's game against Packers
By Mike O'Hara / The Detroit News

ALLEN PARK — The Lions are losing one of their biggest cheerleaders but gaining a top defensive player. It’s a trade they’ll make every game.

Cornerback Dre’ Bly returned to practice Wednesday and expects to start Sunday’s game against the Packers at Ford Field.

Bly missed the last three games because of strained ligaments in his left knee. He was hurt in the first quarter of the opening game. Bly was close to playing against Atlanta Sunday, but Coach Steve Mariucci decided to hold him out for another week. Bly worked out the morning of the game.

“I was real close,” Bly said. “If it was left up to me, I would have played. It was Coach’s decision. He was thinking about the final 12 games — me being available for my teammates at the end of the year, not going out and re-injuring it and making it worse.

“He was looking at the bigger picture — that’s being healthy for a division game and having a chance to play here at home.”

Bly led the Lions with six interceptions last year and was voted to start in the Pro Bowl. He also recovered three fumbles and had two returns for touchdowns — on an interception and a fumble recovery.

Bly said he hasn’t missed any of the fun of the Lions’ 3-1 start.

“I’ve been experiencing everything with the guys,” Bly said. “I just haven’t been out on the field. I’m the first cheerleader on the field, whenever a guy scores or a guy makes a big play.”

Injuries / personnel

Wide receiver Roy Williams did not practice because of a sprained left ankle. He was hurt in the third quarter of Sunday’s 17-10 victory at Atlanta.

Mariucci reiterated after Wednesday that if Williams is healthy, he will play Sunday, even if he has not practiced.

Tailback Kevin Jones (right ankle) returned to practice in full pads but did not participate in the team portion of practice.

Bly, Jones and Williams all are listed as questionable, which means there is a 50-50 chance that they will play. Bly’s listing probably is a precaution. It’s likely he will be upgraded to probable if he does not encounter a setback before game day.

Fullback Cory Schlesinger is doubtful with an injured left hamstring. He was hurt in the first quarter of Game 3 against Philadelphia and aggravated the injury in the second half against Atlanta.

Andre’ Goodman, who hasn’t played since the opener, is doubtful with an injured left hamstring.

Honors

Defensive end James Hall was named NFC defensive player of the week for his performance against the Falcons.

Hall led the charge that resulted in six sacks and four turnovers. He had a sack, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.

“It was unexpected,” Hall said. “It’s definitely a team award because it was a great team effort on the game.”

Rice report

The trade deadline is Tuesday, and questions keep coming up concerning any interest the Lions might have in acquiring Raiders receiver Jerry Rice.

Raiders management has said the Lions have not shown any interest in Rice, and Mariucci made it clear Wednesday — again — that the Lions are committed to going with their young receivers.

“We haven’t given it a lot of serious consideration,” Mariucci said. “We’re sort of committed to our guys right now and headed in a certain direction, where guys are going to be here for several years.

“Right now, our receivers are a young bunch, and we like our group of receivers.”