ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- One important Detroit Lions veteran returned to practice -- sort of. Another left indefinitely.
Injuries are piling up on teams across the NFL three weeks into training camp, and the Lions haven't escaped.
Longtime kicker Jason Hanson, a two-time Pro Bowl selection and the Lions' career leading scorer, underwent what first-year coach Jim Schwartz called a "fairly minor" procedure to treat a nagging knee injury Tuesday morning. Schwartz wouldn't say which knee was affected, offering only that the team hopes to have Hanson, an 18-year veteran, back on the field soon.
Hanson, one of only six men in NFL history to kick more than 400 field goals, made both attempts in Saturday's preseason opener over the Atlanta Falcons, including a 47-yarder that won the game as time expired.
The news was somewhat better for Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who took the practice field Tuesday without a cast covering his right thumb. Detroit's leading returning receiver ran in some drills, but quarterbacks were instructed not to throw to him.
Johnson missed the preseason opener, and his status for Saturday's game at Cleveland remains unsettled.
Another player who missed the Lions' preseason opener, rookie safety Louis Delmas, was back on the field Tuesday after being out for several full sessions with a knee injury. Schwartz said a cautious approach to his return proved to be the correct one.
"He's feeling better. He's moving well," Schwartz said of the second-round draft pick. "He did a really, really good job of playing through his eyes rather than his feet (while he was out). When he does that, it's like he never missed a day."
Schwartz wouldn't say if Delmas will play at Cleveland, but the coach all but ruled out rookie tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who has been stymied by a quadriceps injury since the early days of camp.
"It's been a nagging thing," Schwartz said of the injury. "It hasn't responded as well as we've hoped."
Rookie kicker Swayze Waters, who opened camp with the Lions but was released last week, re-signed with the team Tuesday. Detroit cleared a roster spot by placing linebacker Cody Spencer on injured reserve. The six-year veteran tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Saturday's preseason opener.
Spencer joined offensive tackle Damion Cook (triceps) and defensive end Jared DeVries (Achilles' tear) as Lions on the season-ending injury list.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press