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Lions QB Stafford without restrictions in return to practice

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  • By Associated Press
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ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford warmed up by softly tossing screen passes, then put some zip on 10- and 15-yarders to teammates.

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"I felt pretty good," he said Wednesday. "Threw it around and felt pretty normal."

When the workout was closed to reporters, Stafford showed his teammates that his right shoulder has healed enough for him to go deep.

"That was pretty cool to see him do that," running back Jahvid Best said. "It doesn't look like he's lost a step."

Stafford, a former No. 1 overall draft pick, practiced without restrictions for the first time since Week 1 when he was knocked out of the game on a sack by Chicago's Julius Peppers, injuring his throwing shoulder.

Stafford insisted he didn't question whether or not he would get his arm strength back.

"It wasn't like a rotator or a labrum," he said. "It was an AC separation."

Stafford is expected to start Detroit's next game -- after a bye -- at home Oct. 31 against the Washington Redskins.

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The Lions (1-5) need Stafford in part because his backup, Shaun Hill, is out with a broken left arm. They also need Stafford to stay healthy after being out for five games this year and six last season, missing games with a banged-up left shoulder and an injured right knee that needed surgery.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz was encouraged by what Stafford was able to do Wednesday.

"It was good work for him, he did a lot of different things," Schwartz said. "He threw some 7 on 7. I don't want to say a live pass rush, but he faced guys rushing him. He had to move in the pocket and things like that. I think it was a big step."

The Lions, who released defensive backs Dante Wesley and Paul Pratt, filled one of their vacated roster spots by signing linebacker Bobby Carpenter. The former Ohio State star was cut Monday by the Miami Dolphins after spending four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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