Calvin Johnson returns to practice on Friday

AP

He’s back.

After missing Wednesday and Thursday with a knee ailment, Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson resumed practicing on Friday, Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com reported late this morning.

The news isn’t particularly surprising, as Johnson indicated Thursday he was intending to play Sunday at Pittsburgh. Still, his appearance on the practice field is welcome news for the first-place Lions.

Johnson, 28, has caught 53 passes for 904 yards and nine touchdowns in eight games for Detroit, which leads Chicago and Green Bay by one game in the NFC North. The Lions have swept the season series with the Bears, which strengthens their position atop the division. Still, there’s plenty of work left to be done for Detroit, and having Johnson in the fold will aid in those efforts.

The Lions’ positive practice news doesn’t end there. Rookie defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (ankle) also returned to the field Friday, according to Twentyman. The Lions’ 2013 first-round pick, Ansah has 19 tackles and three sacks in eight games (six starts).