Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson out for season after thumb surgery

SideLion Report

The injury hits keep coming for the Detroit Lions, as tight end T.J. Hockenson is out for the season after thumb surgery.

Detroit Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson popped up on the injury report last week with a hand injury, and he missed Week 14’s 38-10 loss to the Denver Broncos. Based on missing practice Wednesday, he was automatically starting to look iffy for Week 15.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter was first to report the Pro Bowler will miss the rest of season after undergoing thumb surgery Thursday morning.

Hockenson is the Lions’ leading receiver this season, with 61 catches for 583 yards and four touchdowns. His production has been up and down, but since the first two games of the season down is the right word.

In Hockenson’s absence undrafted rookie Brock Wright will step in as Detroit’s No. 1 tight end, like he did against the Broncos. Practice squad rookie Shane Zylstra has played in two games this season, including last week, and he’s likely to remain on the active roster from here on out this season.

Via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, tight ends coach Ben Johnson said last week he thinks Wright is an underrated receiver.

He kind of got a little bit passed over while he was at Notre Dame, but it wasn’t so much because of his skill set, it was just more, ‘Hey, we’re going to put you more in the blocking because you’re better than these guys maybe in that role, and we’ll get them the ball,’” Johnson said. “So he’s kind of a double whammy for him on that. But he can play. He can play ball in this league.”

Flu and COVID-19 outbreaks have impacted the Lions over the last 10 days or so, thinning an already thin roster. But with Hockenson set to go on IR, and running back D’Andre Swift possibly next up to land there, the Lions could field pieces of a pretty good lineup with players who are (or have been, in the case of Taylor Decker) on IR.

Hockenson should not miss much, if any, of the Lions’ offseason program. But his 2021 campaign is over.

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