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Lions nearly had to play tight end Brandon Pettigrew at tackle

Detroit Lions Training Camp

ALLEN PARK, MI - JULY 29: Corey Hilliard #78 of the Detroit Lions goes through the drills during training camp at the Detroit Lions training facility on July 29, 2014 in Allen Park, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

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Corey Hilliard won’t play again for the Lions this year, but his ability to finish last week’s game kept them from making a drastic change to their offense.

According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Lions were prepared to use tight end Brandon Pettigrew as their right tackle if Hilliard wasn’t able to finish the game.

“At one point in the game, actually we were getting Pettigrew ready to go in there and play some tackle if need be, because it just had gotten to that point,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “But Corey was a quality guy for us in every way.”
Hilliard will have Lisfranc surgery next week and will miss the rest of the season. Starting right tackle LaAdrian Waddle suffered a calf strain on the Lions’ opening drive and might miss this week’s game. If he does, undrafted rookie Cornelius Lucas would start against the Panthers.

That’s not an ideal situation against a pass-rush like Carolina’s, but it beats what Hilliard went through Monday.

He came out for a series, and had trainers re-tape his feet, but continued on despite an injury that will keep him from putting weight on his foot for two months.

“I wasn’t trying to be heroic or nothing, but we really didn’t have another tackle, so I kind of had to stay in there,” Hilliard said. “I didn’t really have a choice.”

That says plenty about Hilliard’s character, but also about how dire the situation is for Detroit’s offensive line.