T.J. Hockenson’s injury update isn’t what Lions fans want to hear

T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Detroit Lions fans can’t feel good about T.J. Hockenson’s injury update.

It doesn’t seem that T.J. Hockenson‘s ankle is getting any better.

The Detroit Lions used the No. 8 overall pick on the former Iowa Hawkeyes tight end in the 2019 NFL Draft. The idea was he’d be the Motor City’s version of George Kittle for the long-suffering NFC North franchise. Instead, he might be the second-best tight end taken in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Lions fans can’t be ecstatic about his latest injury update.

Rotoworld Football tweeted out some frightening news for Lions fans, regarding Hockenson’s health. “T.J. Hockenson (ankle) ‘might not be 100%’ yet”. That feels ominous for what might be another rough season ahead for Matt Patricia’s team.

The Athletic’s Chris Burke tweeted out Lions offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s comments on the health of his No. 1 tight end. “Darrell Bevell says TJ Hockenson (ankle) is back running and running routes but might not be quite 100% yet. Adds he’s “well on his way to being there” and that the Lions are comfortable with his progress.”

T.J. Hockenson’s ankle looks to be an issue heading into his second season.

As a rookie, Hockenson played in 12 games for the 2019 Lions, as he caught 32 passes for 367 yards and two touchdowns. Despite a surprisingly hot start, the bottom fell out of the wet paper bag once starting quarterback Matthew Stafford succumbed to a season-ending injury mid-season. This led to the Lions finishing with a 3-12-1 record and picking No. 3 in the NFL Draft.

For nearly all of Stafford’s decade-plus tenure in Detroit, the Lions have had one of the more prolific passing offenses in the league. Though they can’t run the football worth a damn, the aerial assault stemming from Stafford’s howitzer has been a reason the Lions have made the playoffs a few times during his time as their starting quarterback.

This is an incredibly important year for the Lions. Patricia knows he has to win to keep his job. The same thing could apply to his longtime friend in general manager Bob Quinn. No, the Lions don’t need to make the playoffs for both men to keep their jobs. They just need to hover around .500 and play a competitive brand of football for 16 games. The Lions are a juggernaut by no means.

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Having a healthy Hockenson catching passes from Stafford on third down and in the red zone will go a long way in having the Lions be competitive in a tough NFC North division. It’s always a gamble to use a first-round pick on a tight end. Though Hockenson could technically pop in year two like many second-year players do in the league, his ankle concerns are growing worrisome.

If Hockenson’s ankle is a problem this fall, then the Lions will have another problem this fall.