Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew returned to practice for the first time since tearing his ACL last December, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.
Pettigrew returned just hours before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline to either remove a player from the physically unable to perform list or place him on injured reserve. Now the Lions have three weeks to either activate Pettigrew to the 53-man roster or place him on the injured reserve for the rest of the season.
The former option is most likely, but it’s doubtful that takes place before the Lions game on Thursday versus the Vikings. In all probability, Pettigrew will return to action around early December.
Fellow tight end Eric Ebron has had a solid season in Pettigrew’s absence, tallying 35 catches and 451 yards in seven games. If and when Pettigrew comes back, he figures to serve primarily in a blocking role.
But the Lions’ 30th-ranked rushing attack could certainly use the help.
Pettigrew, 31, was one of the Lions first-round draft pick (20th overall) in 2009. His best season came in 2011 when he caught 83 passes for 777 yards and five touchdowns.
In the wake of Ebron’s arrival, however, Pettigrew’s numbers have taken a hit. Before getting hurt in 2015, he recorded just seven receptions for 67 yards and one touchdown.