"Is their smile bigger than mine?" Caldwell said. "I'm happy to see them back. They both add a lot to our team, two veteran guys that do a great job with leadership, but then also fine performance as well, so it's always good to get them back on the field. It doesn't necessarily mean that they're going to play this weekend or next weekend, but they're making good progress, obviously."
Waddle was sidelined by partially torn anterior cruciate ligament, and Jones had a minor surgical procedure on his knee. Both players participated in practice Sunday.
The defensive linemen all cheered Jones vociferously during drills.
"I loved it," Jones said, grinning. "Being out these last few weeks has been tough, I've been bored, but I'm ready to go out there and make plays for my team."
One thing Jones has going for him is that it's his second year in defensive coordinator Teryl Austin's system.
"I know the defense in and out," Jones said. "Just being comfortable in this defense, this time sitting out I didn't have to learn anything new. I was taking a lot of mental reps and watching a lot of film in our D-line room. We'll see as the week goes on, once they ease me back into there, I'm going to try to get back to where I was last year."
Waddle, who wore braces on both knees during drills, started 18 games at right tackle the last two years.
"I've definitely been chomping at the bit to get back out here," Waddle said. "It felt good to actually come out and do stuff with the team again. I'm definitely looking forward to doing more and getting back out there."
Waddle said the doctors never gave him a definite timeline for his return.
"We kind of did (things) as far as how much strength I had and what kind of mobility I had, stuff like that," Waddle said. "Just every day, wanted to get a little bit better."
Rookie cornerback Alex Carter returned to practice. He has missed most of camp with an ankle injury.
"He's missed so much, it's going to take him a little bit to catch up, but he's been in it mentally," Caldwell said. "Physically it's a little bit different applying the different techniques that he's learned so we'll see how that goes."
Notes: Among those sitting out of practice were DE Ziggy Ansah, LB Kyle Van Noy, DT Caraun Reid, G Larry Warford, WR Lance Moore, LB Kevin Snyder, S Isa Abdul-Quddus, CB Crezdon Butler and TE Eric Ebron. Caldwell does not relish discussing injuries but he sounded most concerned about Van Noy. "He's getting checked out," Caldwell said. "He's had a bit of an injury that sort of occurred about a week ago or so, and it's just increasingly getting a little bit worse so he's getting looked at closely. He's got some issues." ... The Lions signed free agents TE Deon Butler, LB Justin Cherocci and DE Erik Williams and officially released WR Jarred Haggins and S Taylor Mays. RB Joique Bell, who remains on PUP, said to reporters during practice: "Joique Bell coming soon." Caldwell indicated that is true. "To be honest with you, he's really getting closer and he's been doing his field work and making really, really good progress," Caldwell said.