Lions place TE T.J. Hockenson on IR after ankle injury, ending his rookie campaign

Ryan YoungYahoo Sports Contributor
After suffering an ankle injury against <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/chicago/" data-ylk="slk:the Bears">the Bears</a> on Thanksgiving, <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/31840/" data-ylk="slk:T.J. Hockenson">T.J. Hockenson</a> was placed on injured reserve on Monday. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
After suffering an ankle injury against the Bears on Thanksgiving, T.J. Hockenson was placed on injured reserve on Monday. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

After suffering an ankle injury at the tail end of the Detroit Lions’ Thanksgiving Day matchup, T.J. Hockenson’s rookie campaign is over.

The Lions placed the tight end on injured reserve on Monday, officially ending his season after just 13 games.

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“Probably hard to summarize [his] entire year right now as an entirety, but certainly I think a guy that was consistent from Day 1, someone that worked really hard,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said on Monday, via the Detroit Free Press. “I think he improvised as the spring and training camp and the season went on. I think he worked really hard at his task and understanding differences between the college game and the pro game and some of the different looks that he was going to see, especially after early in the season when I think obviously a lot of production and a lot of stats early in the year.”

Hockenson went down with about one minute left in the Lions’ 24-20 loss to the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving. After completing a 1-yard catch near the sideline, Hockenson was tackled awkwardly by Bears linebacker Roquan Smith, bending his ankle behind him as he went down. 

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Hockenson crawled off the field himself. He did not return, finishing the day with six receptions for 18 yards in the loss.

The Lions aren’t yet sure if Hockenson — the former Iowa standout who they selected with the No. 8 overall pick in the draft — needs surgery or not, but they aren’t taking any chances risking a return.

He finished the season with 367 yards on 32 receptions with two touchdowns. The 22-year-old was by far the most productive in Week 1, setting a league record for the most receiving yards by a tight end in his debut after recording 131 yards on six receptions and one touchdown in their tie with the Arizona Cardinals

“I think he did a good job of changing some of his role a little bit,” Patricia said, via the Detroit Free Press. “So something hopefully to build on. We knew how difficult it is to make the jump from Year 1 to Year 2, but for us or for him right now it’s day-by-day, just trying to work through the injury situation and try to get better.”

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