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Browns Could Have Sheard & Groves Back Against Lions

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

There was some positive news on the injury front Wednesday for Cleveland Browns fans as outside linebackers Jabaal Sheard, Quentin Groves, and Chris Ogbonnaya all returned to practice as limited participants.

Cleveland could particularly use the depth at outside linebacker. Although rookie first-round pick Barkevious Mingo has gained valuable experience over the past three games, Sheard began the season playing like an elite-caliber player. He sprained his knee against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3, so if he returns against the Detroit Lions, it would mean that he had three weeks worth of rest.

As for Groves, he suffered an ankle injury in Week 2 against the Baltimore Ravens. He was projected to return in 4-6 weeks, and this week's game would mark the early part of that timetable. Even if just one of the two outside linebackers return, it will help keep everyone else fresh; Paul Kruger, for example, has been seeing an extraordinary amount of reps, especially compared to what he was accustom to with as a member of the Ravens in 2012.

Ogbonnaya was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms during last Thursday's game against the Bills. The fact that he is practicing so soon would seem to indicate that he'll be ready to resume his duties at fullback this Sunday.

The only players who were held out completely from practice were defensive end Billy Winn and quarterback Brian Hoyer. Winn is dealing with a quadriceps injury, while Hoyer is expected to be placed on season-ending IR soon.

The Lions, meanwhile, held star wide receiver Calvin Johnson out of practice Wednesday as he continues to try to come back from a knee injury. He missed last week's game against the Packers, but Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is being secretive about whether Johnson will play or not this week.