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Haloti Ngata hoping to shake off some dust in Detroit Lions return

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ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Haloti Ngata wants to "get some dust off." Joique Bell believes he has already exceeded some of the expectations of his recovery.

The two remaining Detroit Lions that were inactive throughout training camp were activated Monday afternoon and they both did some work on their first day practicing during the 2015 season.

"This is my first time doing a lot of this, get-offs and just every down getting off," Ngata said. "Just doing a lot of that stuff and just being consistent."

Ngata said he didn't want to feel like he was lagging behind any of the other defensive linemen after sitting out the first three weeks of training camp with a strained hamstring. It's a hamstring injury that Ngata said he had good days with and bad days with, but the past few days have been good days in a row.

So he was activated and was back out at practice Monday, hitting the sled and rejoining his teammates. Prior to that, Ngata had mostly done work mentally, trying to see where he would fit into the scheme even though he couldn't actually practice within the scheme.

"I feel like I know the playbook pretty well now and doing a lot of mental reps," Ngata said. "A lot of it is trying to be physically there, doing some extra cardio and stuff like that. Just making sure I'm not way behind the other guys."

Lions coach Jim Caldwell said it "depends on the situation" as to whether or not any starters would play in Thursday's preseason finale against Buffalo.

While Ngata was working on getting himself acclimated in the defense for the first time, Bell said he worked completely with the first team offense Monday. He said he participated in team drills and the only thing that he was limited in was the amount of reps he was able to take as he works back into the lineup.

"I'm actually right on pace on where I think I should be right now," Bell said. "Actually I've exceeded my expectations, so it feels good."

And what, exactly, were those expectations for returning?

"I just wanted to be back out there running around," Bell said. "I didn't know exactly where I would be right now, but I didn't think I would be this far ahead. But I definitely feel good right now."