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Kitna quietly moved aside

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Lost in the mayhem surrounding the Roy Williams trade was the Detroit Lions' interesting statement confirming their decision to place quarterback Jon Kitna on injured reserve.

The Lions still won't specify Kitna's exact back ailment, and if you're into conspiracy theories, you might wonder if this wasn't simply a graceful way for the Lions to push Kitna aside and move on with a younger quarterback.

In announcing the move, the Lions reported Kitna suffered an "an acute exacerbation of a chronic condition" in the first half of their Oct. 5 game against Chicago. Dr. Kyle Anderson, the Lions' team physician, was quoted in the release as saying Kitna should start a rehabilitation program rather than risk further injury.

Pointedly, there is no indication that the rehabilitation will take the remaining two and a half months of the season -- or that surgery is required.

Kitna wouldn't be the first player to go on injured reserve with a nonseason-ending injury, but it doesn't often happen to a veteran starting quarterback. He hasn't excelled in the Lions' new run-based offense, and at 36, Kitna doesn't fit into the team's latest rebuilding project. Rather than have him hovering over the roster or subject him to an outright demotion, the Lions can quietly move on.