Brandon Pettigrew Injury: Updates on Lions TE's Ankle

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2012

Nov 22, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew (87) catches a pass in the overtime of the Thanksgiving day game against the Houston Texans at Ford Field. Houston Texans defeated the Detroit Lions 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Stafford is running out of receiving options on offense, and it looks like he may have lost one more Sunday night in the Detroit Lions' game versus the Green Bay Packers.

UPDATE: Sunday, Dec. 30 at 11:59 p.m. ET by Steven Cook

Although it seemed he'd miss his third straight game, the Lions' official Twitter feed released their inactives list and it didn't include Pettigrew, which means the tight end will be active.

#Lions inactives: Kellen Moore, Kevin Smith, Drayton Florence, Ricardo Silva, Jason Fox, Corey Hilliard and Ronnell Lewis #LIONSvsCHI

— Detroit Lions (@DetroitLionsNFL) December 30, 2012

It's unclear at this point how much he'll play, or if at all, but it'll be encouraging for Lions fans to see their big tight end get back on the field after missing a few games.

––End of Update––

UPDATE: Sunday, Dec. 30 at 8:18 p.m. ET by Steven Cook

Brandon Pettigrew returned to practice for the first time in weeks, but he's still listed as doubtful to play in the Lions' season finale against the Bears Sunday. Local news outlet WXYZ reported the news Sunday morning. 

Pettigrew (ankle) is listed as doubtful on the team's injury report for the season finale against the Bears... All signs point to the tight end missing his third consecutive game.

With the Lions' playoff hopes gone for weeks, the team is likely best set to rest their top tight end and ensure he enters the offseason as healthy as possible.

––End of Update––

UPDATE: Sunday, Dec 16 at 3:17 p.m. ET by Richard Langford

The Lions passed along the news on their website that Brandon Pettigrew will not be playing this Sunday. 

They also shared, "Tony Scheffler and Will Heller will pick up the slack in two tight end sets for Pettigrew."

---end of update---

According to Detroit Free Press reporter Dave Birkett, tight end Brandon Pettigrew has left the game:

Pettigrew has an ankle injury. Officially questionable to return, but didn't have his helmet when he left field

— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) December 10, 2012

Pettigrew hadn't caught a pass in Sunday's game before heading to the sidelines, but he's still an important piece to the puzzle for Detroit's passing attack.

He has 57 catches for 556 yards and three touchdowns on the season, using his 6'5'' frame and above-average speed to separate himself from slower defenders. Without Pettigrew, the Lions don't have another tight end who is capable of making that happen.

On top of that, Ryan Broyles is out for the season, and no one knows when Titus Young will be back with the team. Those two may be receivers, but the fact is that Stafford is running out of quality options to throw the ball to down the field.

If Pettigrew cannot go, expect Tony Scheffler and Will Heller to receive more playing time at tight end. Neither player compares to Pettigrew in terms of athleticism, but Scheffler has proven to be a consistent pass-catcher in previous seasons.

The Lions battle with consistency as it is. With so many player shuffling in and out of the lineup, it's difficult for Stafford to develop any sort of rapport with anyone but Calvin Johnson, and even Johnson will suffer if there is no one else out there for the defense to respect.

It's hard to tell how serious the injury is at this point, but Detroit will be crossing its fingers that it's nothing more than a scare.

Stay tuned for updates.