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Lions DT Fairley practices for first time since fracturing foot

The Detroit Lions' dream of having a defensive line that includes both Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley isn't a reality yet, but there's movement in the right direction.

Fairley participated in individual drills on Friday, marking his first practice since fracturing his left foot on Aug. 1.

"It's the first step," coach Jim Schwartztold the Detroit Free Press. "(He's) still got a long way to go, but there's steps along the way, and this was one of them."

Fairley isn't expected to dress for Detroit's game against the Vikings on Sunday, but his return to practice gives hope to the idea his return isn't far off.

When asked if Fairley, the 13th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, could return for Week 4's matchup against the Cowboys, defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham couldn't say.

"You can't tell," Cunningham said. "I'm not a trainer or a doctor or anything like that, but my hope as a football coach is to get him out there and let's get him ready to roll, 'cause I think he's pretty good."

The Lions' defense is off to a fast start this season, and the addition of Fairley -- who won the Lombardi Award as the nation's best college lineman last year -- figures to make them even stronger. If a football renaissance is truly on the rise in Detroit, the Lions need Fairley in order to make it happen.

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