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Ezekiel Ansah active for Detroit Lions for first time since Week 1

MINNEAPOLIS — Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah is active against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday for the first time since Week 1, when he injured his shoulder.

The former Pro Bowler had signed a one-year franchise-tag contract this offseason and has been expected to be a major part of a revamped defense under first-year head coach Matt Patricia. But Ansah, 29, who has battled injuries throughout his career, has been largely unavailable.

During his games away, he has often practiced during the week only to be ruled out either Friday or Saturday. He has been limited to just 19 snaps, accumulating four tackles and a sack.

This injury has been frustrating for him.

“I wouldn’t wish that upon nobody,” Ansah said last month, prior to Detroit’s game against Miami. “I’m just happy that I’ve been better over the weeks, and I’m just looking forward to keep improving.”

The Lions have been coy on Ansah’s exact injury — not surprising considering the team’s policy on discussing injuries since general manager Bob Quinn took over in January 2016.

On Friday, Patricia seemed more optimistic about Ansah than he had in weeks.

“He’s right in the mix right now with all of it. It’s been good for him to be out there every single day,” Patricia said.

“You want to go out and see him be able to produce in practice and function to a level where a) he can protect himself and b) he can do what you need him to do and then be able to come in the next day and still feel like he’s moving in the right direction with that. So it is day-by-day for us right now but it’s certainly been good for the last couple of weeks to be able to see a little bit of consistency with that kind of preparation.”

Now, for the first time in more than a month, Ansah has been consistent enough from a health perspective to play.

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