The hits keep coming for the Detroit Lions and their growing injury list. The latest is a big one.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Lions star tight end T.J. Hockenson’s season is over after undergoing surgery this week for his thumb. The good news? He isn’t expected to miss any of the offseason program for 2022.
“Lions’ Pro Bowl TE T.J. Hockenson underwent thumb surgery this morning with the renowned hand-specialist Dr. Thomas Graham, and is expected to make a complete recovery in time for the off-season program, sources tell ESPN,” Schefter tweeted. “But Hockenson’s 2021 is over.”
Last week, Hockenson said he couldn’t tell when the injury had happened during the game against the Minnesota Vikings, but he didn’t seem to think the issue was that big of a deal.
“It will be fine. No worries here,” Hockenson said, adding that there was nothing broken in his left hand.
Obviously, something has changed or Hockenson has since gotten a second opinion and his season is over. At this point, he’ll likely go on injured reserve, though the team has yet to announce that as of Thursday afternoon.
This will be the second time in three years Hockenson finishes the year on IR. In his rookie season, an ankle injury sidelined him for the final month of the season.
The Lions will likely lean heavily on undrafted rookies Brock Wright and Shane Zylstra for the final four games of the season. Zylstra is currently on the practice squad, but he was elevated last week and received 40 snaps on offense. The Lions also have another undrafted rookie tight end, Nick Eubanks, on the practice squad.