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Brandon Pettigrew returns to practice

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The Lions could be getting their tight end back soon.

NFL: International Series-Detroit Lions Practice Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After tearing his ACL almost a full year ago, Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew returned to practice on Wednesday, as first reported by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Pettigrew entered the season on the PUP list and has been rehabbing ever since. Now that he has returned to practice, the Lions have a three week window to decide whether to activate him to the 53-man roster or place him on the season-ending injured reserve list. At this point, the Lions can carry him at practice without using up a roster spot.

Detroit has had trouble filling a blocking tight end role this year. They’ve tried just about everything, including playing an undrafted rookie like Cole Wick, grabbing a formerly suspended player in Andrew Quarless and rotating through bottom of the roster players like Clay Harbor and Matthew Mulligan.

If Pettigrew could play soon, it has the potential of helping out a running game that has been one of the worst units in the game. Additionally, Pettigrew has experience as a receiver, so he won't just be a one-dimensional player.

That being said, the road to recovery from a torn ACL is a long one with a lot of other variables. Birkett mentions that it wasn’t Pettigrew’s knee that was holding him back from being removed from the PUP list. However, it may still be awhile until we see a fully recovered, fully conditioned Pettigrew back on the field.