“Slim chance” Lions rookie DT Fairley debuts Sunday at Cowboys

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports that there is only “a slim chance” Lions rookie defensive tackle Nick Fairley will be able to make his regular season NFL debut Sunday with the Lions in Dallas.

ESPN reported during its “Monday Night Football” broadcast that the Lions “are hopeful” Fairley will return from his fractured foot in a limited pass-rushing role Sunday.  Though that remains the case, Fairley still has “a ways to go” before he’s ready to contribute, the person familiar with the recovery said.

Lions’ head coach Jim Schwartz would not committ to a return date for the rookie during his weekly Tuesday radio appearance.  The 13th overall pick in April’s draft, Fairley practiced Friday for the first time since Aug. 1, but did not take part in any team drills. The Auburn alum has been slow to recover from foot surgery, and the Lions have been cautious with his return because of solid depth on their defensive line and Fairley’s long-term future in the middle of their front.

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