Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley expressed some optimism about his chances of playing against the Cowboys on Sunday after returning to practice for the first time in a couple of months this week, but the Lions don’t share his rosy outlook.
Detroit listed Fairley as doubtful on their final injury report of the week, a designation that leaves him with a 25 percent chance of playing. That means that we’ll likely have to wait a little longer to see Fairley in a divisional round game against the Seahawks or a lot longer before he’s ready to start offseason work.
With free agency looming, that work could be in Detroit or it could be somewhere else. Right guard Larry Warford isn’t running the same risk that his time with the Lions will be over after Sunday, but he won’t play against Dallas after hurting his knee last week. Travis Swanson will start in his place after replacing Dominic Raiola at center last week.
For the Cowboys, right tackle Doug Free is doubtful because of an ankle injury. Free has missed the last two games and Jermey Parnell should remain in the starting lineup. Linebacker Anthony Hitchens is questionable with an ankle injury and defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford will also be a weekend call due to an illness.