ALLEN PARK, Mich. — In Detroit, Reggie Bush helps Calvin Johnson on the field for the Lions like Prince Fielder compliments Miguel Cabrera in the Tigers' lineup on the baseball field.
At least that's what Lions coach Jim Schwartz thinks.
"If you've got Miguel Cabrera and you don't have Prince Fielder behind him, he doesn't see good enough pitches to hit and they intentionally walk him a lot, and maybe the next guy can hit a sac fly," Schwartz said Wednesday on a conference call with Washington-area reporters. "But Reggie's a guy that, if they intentionally walk Calvin, he can go hit a home run."
Bush, though, may not play Detroit (1-1) against the Redskins (0-2) Sunday because of a banged-up left knee. He didn’t practice Wednesday.
"He's obviously here today and I'll let the injury report speak for itself," Schwartz said.
One thing is clear: Detroit needs Bush on the field to help its chances of winning in Washington against the Redskins for the first time in franchise history.
When Bush has been healthy during his two-game career with the Lions, they've scored 34 points in a win over Minnesota Vikings and led Arizona 14-10 at halftime. Without Bush playing much in the second half Sunday, Detroit's offense was scoreless during a 25-21 loss to the Cardinals.
"There's a different dynamic to our offense when he's out there," Schwartz said. "Not that we don't have good running backs, because we do, they can all make plays within the offense, but Reggie brings a different dimension, particularly in conjunction with Calvin Johnson.
"People play Calvin a little bit, and if they choose to spend too much time on a guy like Calvin, Reggie's a guy that can go hit a home run. I use a lot of baseball analogies, but it's like having a hitter protecting another hitter in a lineup."
If Bush can't play against the Redskins, the running backs on the roster are: Joique Bell, Theo Riddick and Mikel Leshoure.
"It is just tough because [Bush] is one of our big guns and we rely on his playmaking ability, but that is why we have backups," Lions receiver Nate Burleson said.
Bell played in every game last season for the Lions as a backup. He gained nearly 900 yards from scrimmage as a power runner and solid receiver out of the backfield. Riddick earned a spot on the roster as an undrafted free agent from Notre Dame. He has been active because of his value on special teams in the first two games ahead of 2011 second-round pick Mikel Leshoure, who has fallen down the depth chart after starting 14 games last year.
The Lions may lean on Riddick to fill some of the roles Bush plays if the eight-year veteran has to miss his first game since 2011 with the Miami Dolphins.
"He's played wide receiver in the past in college," Schwartz said of Riddick. "He's caught the ball well in the preseason games, he's ran the ball well in the preseason games. His talent set, his skill set, is unique from all of our running backs.
"I wouldn't say that if he ends up in a role that he's replacing a certain player, we're going to try to accentuate anybody's strengths and what they can do and Riddick is no different."
Linebacker Te'o returns to practice for San Diego
SAN DIEGO — Manti Te'o practiced for the first time since injuring his right foot in August.
The San Diego Chargers' second-round pick out of Notre Dame wasn't all the way back but his return represented progress.
"It's been a long time and it's definitely been a learning process," said Te'o, who was injured Aug. 8. "But I'm glad I'm at the stage where I am right now and we're going to get better every day."
Te'o hoped to work on Thursday as he tries to compensate for his time off.
"He has been in every meeting, been at every practice, been at every walk-through, been on the road with us," coach Mike McCoy said. "He hasn't missed anything besides practice time. It's just a matter of how quickly he gets back into football shape and gets ready to go."
McCoy said Te'o did have "a little rust" and declined to say whether Te'o would be activated for Sunday's game at Tennessee.
Te'o saw action on just nine preseason plays before getting hurt. He spent the rest of training camp in a walking boot, something he shed about two weeks ago as his running on the sidelines increased.
Fitzgerald uncertain for Saints, sits out practice
TEMPE, Ariz. — Larry Fitzgerald sat out practice with his ailing right hamstring and his status is uncertain for the Arizona Cardinals' game Sunday at New Orleans.
Coach Bruce Arians said Fitzgerald wanted to practice but was overruled.
Arians doesn't want the injury to linger, and there was a good possibility Fitzgerald would not attempt to practice until Friday.
The seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver has missed only four games in his nine-plus seasons.