LARRY LAGE,AP Sports Writer
ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Lions got a boost on offense with Matthew Stafford’s return to practice.
Their defense, meanwhile, took a hit.
Starting defensive tackle Corey Williams had knee surgery this week that rules him out for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.
“He’ll be week to week,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said.
Barring a surprising setback, Stafford appears healthy enough to play in Week 4.
Stafford joined teammates on the field Thursday morning, a day after sitting out with an injured right hip. Stafford hurt his hip last week in practice and aggravated it in a loss to Tennessee and left the game.
“I feel better than I did yesterday,” he said after practice. “We’ll see how it goes. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.”
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft bounced back last year from two injury-riddled seasons by throwing for 5,000-plus yards, 41 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, helping Detroit end an 11-year postseason drought.
It appears Stafford’s full assortment of receiving options will be available against Minnesota.
Tight end Tony Scheffler practiced Thursday after being held out the previous day and missing the last game with a calf injury. Receiver Titus Young, who caught a TD pass that sent last week’s loss at Tennessee into overtime, also practiced following a day of rest for his knee injury.
Stafford proved he could play through pain last year with a sprained right ankle and a broken right index finger that was supported by a splint and covered with a glove.
“He’s tough,” Lions receiver Nate Burleson said. “It was great to see him on the field with us, throwing the ball around with some swagger and a bounce in his step.”
The Lions (1-2) will miss having Williams as a run-stopper against Adrian Peterson. He has bounced back from surgery on his left knee to run 58 times for 230 yards and two TDs in three games for the Vikings (2-1).
“It’s a big-time loss,” defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
The loss of Williams helps Fairley and Sammie Hill gain playing time.
“I hate that my boy out, but we got his back no matter what,” Hill said. “We just got to go out there and take his place and do our job.”
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