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