Detroit coach Jim Schwartz confirmed Monday that rookie tight end Brandon Pettigrew’s season-ending injury is a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the left knee. Surgery has not yet been scheduled as doctors work to reduce swelling.
Because the injury happened so late in the year, the big question is whether Pettigrew will be fully recovered in time for the start of next season. Every player is different, but here in the NFC North we have two recent examples to give us an idea of how these injuries heal.
Green Bay linebacker Nick Barnett tore his ACL on Nov. 9, 2008. He was a limited participant in training camp eight months later but did not reclaim his job on a full-time basis until October 2009. Packers right tackle Mark Tauscher, meanwhile, suffered a similar injury on Dec. 7, 2008. His first game came 11 months later.
“It’s disappointing where he is,” Schwartz said. “I think the one thing that’s optimistic about it is doctors and trainers know how to handle ACLs and guys have proven that they can come back and they can come back and compete at a pretty high level. It’s probably too early to see.”
As expected, the Lions replaced Pettigrew on the roster with practice-squad tight end Dan Gronkowski.