Detroit Lions offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle said Monday he's hopeful of returning to the field Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
Waddle has been out since he strained his left calf on the team's first drive of the season. He returned to practice last week and was close to playing in Detroit's game against the New York Jets but said he, coaches and trainers mutually agreed to hold Waddle out for one more week to ensure long-term recovery.
"I was close last week," Waddle said. "So we're going to go through practice this week and if everything's good, we'll be ready to go."
A second-year pro out of Texas Tech, Waddle appeared in 12 games for the Lions last year as a rookie, starting eight. He won the right tackle job in training camp this season over Corey Hilliard, who tore ligaments in his foot in Week 1 and is out for the season. After losing the right tackle competition, Hilliard was the team's top backup lineman.
"The guys that have been in there have been doing a pretty good job and they've been battling so that plays into it, too," Waddle said. "So be on the safe side and looking ahead to the rest of the season."
"I don't want to get in there and get hurt again. We just erred on the side of waiting just because of that."
The Lions have given up 11 sacks through four games, tied for the third-most in the NFL, though Detroit is also 10th in the NFL in pass attempts with 148.
Detroit is 3-1 this season, while Week 5 opponent Buffalo is 2-2.
- Ben Estes