Lions place Brandon Pettigrew on injured reserve

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The Lions may not be mailing things in against the Vikings on Sunday, but they won’t be going at full strength either.

The team has placed tight end Brandon Pettigrew on injured reserve, ending his season a little early because of an ankle injury. Pettigrew caught 41 passes for 416 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games this season.

There’s been no indication that Pettigrew’s injury will cut into his offseason work or compromise his chances of being ready for the 2014 season. It could still impact the kind of deal that Pettigrew gets as an unrestricted free agent once March rolls around. The 2009 first-round pick has played out his contract in Detroit and the high possibility of a coaching change makes it hard to predict the likelihood that he’ll return.

Joseph Fauria will fill in for Pettigrew this weekend and the undrafted rookie has flashed some skills as a receiver this year that may make him a better bet to be in Detroit again next season than the guy he’s been backing up.