Hill practices with first team, could start at QB for Lions

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Leading the Detroit Lions to two consecutive wins might not have been enough to help Drew Stanton earn another shot.

Shaun Hill took snaps with the Lions' first-string offense Wednesday, making it look like he will start Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

"Very observant," Stanton said.

Stanton hurt his non-throwing shoulder during last Sunday's win at Tampa Bay, but he was healthy enough to make all the throws during the early parts of practice open to the media.

Regular starter Matthew Stafford wasn't on the field and will miss a seventh consecutive game since aggravating his separated right shoulder.

"He's the only guy that is out of the consideration for the starting quarterback spot this week," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "We'll have a good idea as the week goes on about the health of our guys and who we're going to go with on Sunday. But we probably won't announce it until we get up to game time for competitive reasons because those guys are different and require different game plans."

The Lions have four quarterbacks -- rookie Zac Robinson is the other -- because they're holding out hope that Stafford might be able to play in the Jan. 2 season finale against the Minnesota Vikings.

If Stafford is physically ready to play the Vikings, Schwartz said he wouldn't worry about him being rusty.

"He's done that before," Schwartz said.

Stafford was out for seven weeks -- six games, plus the team's bye -- after being knocked out of the season opener. If Stafford returns to play in Week 17, he will have missed another seven weeks before testing his banged-up throwing shoulder again in a game.

Stanton hurt his left shoulder during a 23-20 overtime victory over the Buccaneers after helping Detroit beat the Green Bay Packers to win consecutive games for the first time since the first half of the 2007 season.

"He showed a lot of toughness playing through it on Sunday and being able to finish the game was big," Schwartz said.

Hill broke his right index Nov. 25 against the New England Patriots and missed the next three games. He's trying to throw passes while protecting his injury with a taped-on splint.

"I'm just going to push it and hope to be the guy," he said.

The Lions (4-10) already have doubled last season's win total. They close the season at Miami and at home against the Minnesota Vikings.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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