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Lions' Burleson has surgery on broken arm

The SportsXchange

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson had surgery Wednesday after breaking both the ulna and radius bones in his forearm in a single-car accident in Farmington Hills early Tuesday morning.

Coach Jim Schwartz, before the surgery, said he didn't think the injury was career or season-ending.

"Any time you are in a highway accident there is potential for worse than broken bones," Schwartz said. "He was fortunate in this case, and we were fortunate that it wasn't more than that."

Typically, broken ulna and radius bones can heal in six to eight weeks. But, as Schwartz pointed out, every case is different. It took three surgeries and more than a year for Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to repair a broken forearm.

In the meantime, Schwartz said the plan will be, "next man up." Patrick Edwards, who missed last week with an ankle injury, could return this week and start at one of the outside receiver spots. Ryan Broyles, who caught three passes for 34 yards in his season debut Sunday, will likely start in the slot.

Schwartz also said the tight ends -- Brandon Pettigrew, Tony Scheffler and Joseph Fauria -- will have to contribute more, as well as running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell.

"It's a little setback for our team," Schwartz said. "Nate was playing well for us. He was our leading receiver and had his best day as a Lion a couple of days ago. But just like not having (running back) Reggie Bush last week, the next guy has to step up and we are prepared to do that as a team."

Burleson attended a "Monday Night Football" party hosted by teammate Stephen Tulloch at Happy's Pizza in West Bloomfield. He was on his way home from that event, around 2:25 a.m. Tuesday, according to Michigan State Police. He was driving westbound on I-696 near Drake Road when he hit a center median wall. He was distracted by a whole pizza sliding off his car seat.

"It's crazy how life is, man," Tulloch said. "Just like that. You see the guy hanging out and then boom, he's in the hospital. I am glad he's OK. Nate's a good guy, one of the best teammates I've had in my career. Hopefully he can bounce back from this and come back and help us."

State police said alcohol was not involved and Tulloch confirmed that neither he nor Burleson had been drinking at the event.

"You've got to realize, Nate has faced adversity his whole career," Tulloch said. "He tore his ACL early in his career and came back. He got hurt last year, he came back. He's the Ed Block (Courage) Award winner. He's just a hard worker. He's a professional.

"I know how he is. Right now he's thinking about getting back, getting healthy and he'll be back to help us. We have to keep rolling. We have a big test this week against Chicago. They're not worried about what we're dealing with. We have to handle it and move on and find ways to make plays."

The Lions went 2-8 after Burleson broke his leg last season.

"This is another situation where you get dealt a certain hand and you go play," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "That's what we're going to do. There are no excuses to be made. Nothing. Next guy up. Let's go play football and play at a high level."
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