Lions injury report

There's a much better chance Nick Fairley actually will be able to play if the Lions can advance in the playoffs a round or two.

Tim Fuller

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day, but it remains unlikely that he will play in Sunday’s opening-round playoff game at Dallas.

Fairley, who missed the final eight regular-season games because of a knee injury, is officially listed as doubtful.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell has been encouraged with what he’s seen since Fairley returned this week and took part in some of the individual drills.

There’s a much better chance Fairley actually will be able to play if the Lions can advance in the playoffs a round or two.

"We’ll continue to assess that and see where he’s at," Caldwell said.

The Lions, meanwhile, officially ruled out offensive guard Larry Warford, who reinjured his right knee in the regular-season finale.

Rookie Travis Swanson, who has started three games at guard and one at center, is expected to replace Warford.

The Lions also list defensive end Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah (toe), receiver Calvin Johnson (ankle) and defensive end Darryl Tapp (not injury related) as probable.

Ansah was limited in Friday’s practice. Johnson was a full participant the last two days. Tapp returned to the team Friday after missing Thursday’s practice because of the birth of his child.

Center Dominic Raiola will return to the starting lineup after being suspended for a game.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, will be without defensive tackle Henry Melton, who is second of the team in sacks with five. Melton was placed on injured reserve Tuesday because of a knee injury. Raiola called him "an explosive player."

So while all the talk early in the week was how the Lions wouldn’t have the centerpiece of their defensive line — before Ndamukong Suh’s suspension got rescinded — it’s actually the Cowboys who will be missing a key part in the middle of their D-line.

The Cowboys also list offensive tackle Doug Free (ankle) as doubtful, while defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford (illness) and linebacker Anthony Hitchens (ankle) are questionable.

Free and Hitchens haven’t practiced all week. Crawford missed Friday.

The game will be televised by FOX beginning at 4:40 p.m. from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex.