Nate Burleson (kind of) returns to practice

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Nate Burleson showed up as an actual participant at Detroit Lions practice on Wednesday morning.

Kind of.

Burleson, who broke his left forearm in a single-car crash on Sept. 24 and had surgery the next day, was wearing his No. 13 jersey and was on the field running and taking part in warmups.

So it’s a step, but that’s about all he can do right now as he still aims to return and be able to play this season. As of now, Burleson said he is still cleared just to do rehabilitation.

“I wasn’t necessarily told to go out to practice, but I figure if I can run, I can go out there and warmup,” Burleson said. “...I’m going to push the limits. They are going to have to pull me back off the field. I’d rather them tell me not to do something than me to sit inside here not doing anything.”

Burleson also had his hard cast officially removed, replaced by a blue soft cast made by Exos. He said it won’t be the cast or brace he wears when he returns, but that he uses it now when he handles “strenuous” activities.

Burleson also had a brief conversation with Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew, just checking on his wide receiver’s progress. Burleson said Mayhew was also concerned he was catching football with two hands. Instead, he said, he was working with tennis balls because he isn’t cleared to catch footballs yet.

“It was a real sincere gesture from somebody that doesn’t need to do that,” Burleson said. “It was great to hear. I just told him that I’m good, I’m just out here getting a feel for it.

“And just to show the young guys that I’m still here.”

When he was injured, Burleson was leading the Lions with 19 receptions.