The Detroit Lions' depth at tight end has taken another hit. Whether that affects Monday's game in New Orleans remains to be seen.
Eric Ebron has been limited in practice this week while dealing with an illness, and was absent completely on Saturday as Detroit wrapped up preparations for Monday night's game against the Saints.
Detroit will issue its game designations later Saturday.
Ebron's status compounds the Lions' issues at tight end, where starter Brandon Pettigrew was lost for the year after suffering a torn ACL in last week's loss against St. Louis.
Detroit signed Bear Pascoe this week to offer another body at the position, and could activate Tim Wright for the first time since Oct. 25 as well.
Receiver Calvin Johnson also missed practice Saturday, his second absence of the week, but is still expected to play against New Orleans. He's taken days off throughout the season while dealing with a sore ankle, but continues to play through it.
Dec 18, 2015 · 6:32 PM EST
Lions TE Eric Ebron (illness) took limited practice reps Friday. With Brandon Pettigrew out, Ebron is a compelling streaming option in a great matchup with the Saints.
His second-best game of the season was a 61-yard outing against Denver in Week 3. Pettigrew didn't play in that one either.
All told, Ebron is averaging just 24.1 yards receiving when Pettigrew plays -- but that jumps to 53.8 yards when he doesn't.
What does that all mean? According to Ebron, not a whole lot.
"You're right, most of my production did come when he was out," the Detroit Lions tight end said. "But that doesn't mean anything. I just got to continue to grind."
Maybe it's a trend Ebron's best work has often come when Pettigrew was out. And the Lions will be banking on seeing a lot more of that since Pettigrew is on season-ending injured reserve. Ebron and Tim Wright are the only healthy tight ends remaining on the 53-man roster.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell told reporters in Allen Park, Michigan, on Monday that the team will place Pettigrew on injured reserve.
Pettigrew had seven catches for 67 yards and a touchdown this season, and has been Detroit's primary blocking tight end.
With Pettigrew out for the season, the Lions have only two tight ends on the 53-man roster: Eric Ebron and Tim Wright. This isn't Pettigrew's first major left knee injury. His rookie season in 2009 ended on Thanksgiving after he tore the ACL in his left knee -- the same knee he hurt Sunday against the Rams, the story said.