Lions-Saints: Louis Delmas should play

Not a moment too soon, the Detroit Lions appear on track to regain the services of a core defensive player.

Safety Louis Delmas, a Pro Bowl alternate who has missed five consecutive games because of a sprained knee, practiced Tuesday and seems likely to start Saturday night against the New Orleans Saints. Coach Jim Schwartz, who rarely gives public injury updates, told reporters that Delmas is "trending in the right direction."

Delmas sprained the MCL in right knee during the Lions' Thanksgiving Day game against the Green Bay Packers and hasn't played since. He had minor surgery Dec. 17 to repair some damage and resumed practicing last Friday.

It goes almost without saying that the Lions have missed Delmas in the interim, having used Chicago Bears castoff Chris Harris and special teams player John Wendling in his place. Never was that more evident than last Sunday at Lambeau Field, when Packers quarterback Matt Flynn torched the Lions defense for 480 yards and six touchdowns.

Speaking Monday, Schwartz made little secret about the benefits of Delmas' pending return: " We've obviously missed him and want to get him back on the field."