Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew returning to practice as he tries to come back from PUP

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The clock has started on Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew to practice after he spent the first 11 weeks of the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, a source confirmed on Tuesday.

Pettigrew hasn’t played in almost a year after tearing his left ACL against the Rams on Dec. 13, 2015. He missed all of spring workouts and then was placed on the PUP list prior to training camp.

Detroit has three weeks to decide whether to activate Pettigrew from the PUP list, put him on season-ending injured reserve or release him. The return to practice was first reported by the Detroit Free Press.

A first-round draft pick in 2009 by the Lions, Pettigrew has 301 career catches for 2,965 yards and 17 touchdowns. He was Matthew Stafford's primary tight end target the first five years of his career, but Detroit has moved him into more of a blocking tight end role the past two seasons after drafting Eric Ebron in the first round in 2014.

The Lions have been rotating tight ends behind Ebron with Pettigrew sidelined, including using veterans Matthew Mulligan and Clay Harbor. The Lions also had Khari Lee and Cole Wick on the roster at some point.

Pettigrew has a history of knee issues. He tore his left ACL in 2009 as a rookie on Thanksgiving, ending his season that year.