ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Two days after a victory that for this franchise was downright historic, the Detroit Lions are facing another dose of adversity.
Receiver Nate Burleson broke his arm in a single-car accident early Tuesday after he reached over to keep two pizza boxes from falling off the front passenger seat, authorities said. Coach Jim Schwartz stopped short of writing off the rest of Burleson’s season, but surgery is scheduled for Wednesday.
“It’s not an emergency surgery,” Schwartz said. “Nate will be back at some point and when he is, he will be a big contributor again to our team.”
Burleson’s car hit a center median wall on a highway in suburban Detroit and he was taken to a hospital. Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw said there were no indicators of alcohol on the scene or on Burleson after the crash at 2:25 a.m.
The team didn’t say which arm was broken.
Burleson has a team-high 19 catches, 10 for first downs, and his 239 yards receiving is second to Calvin Johnson on the Lions. Burleson had six receptions for 116 yards, his highest total since 2007, to help Detroit win at Washington for the first time in franchise history Sunday.
“Any time you’re in a highway accident, there’s potential for worse than broken bones,” Schwartz said. “I think we’ve all dealt with some sort of distraction driving before. There’s too many times I leave the office real late at night and you grab something — and I’ve had it happen to me — drop it on your lap or do something else. That’s stuff we all need to learn from.”
The Lions signed Burleson in 2010 to complement Johnson, and he has done that when healthy.
He had 128 receptions for 1,382 yards and nine touchdowns in his first two seasons in Detroit. Burleson, a charismatic presence on and off the field, is also one of the team’s leaders.
COWBOYS: Defensive end Anthony Spencer will have season-ending surgery on his left knee and may have played his last game for the team.
Spencer, 29, is on a one-year contract with the franchise tag for the second straight season, so he will be a free agent when he’s healthy again.
DOLPHINS: Defensive tackle Marvin Austin signed with the Miami, which placed backup defensive lineman Vaughn Martin on the reserve-injured list.
RAIDERS: Oakland will begin a short week of preparation with uncertainty about who will start at quarterback as Terrelle Pryor recovers from a concussion.
Pryor was knocked out of Monday night’s 37-21 loss at Denver in the fourth quarter after a hard hit to the helmet and was replaced by Matt Flynn.
COLTS: Indianapolis signed defensive lineman Lawrence Guy and offensive lineman Xavier Nixon.
CHIEFS: Kansas City elevated offensive guard Rishaw Johnson from the practice squad to the 53-man roster and waived linebacker Josh Martin.
BILLS: Buffalo brought back defensive lineman Jay Ross two weeks after cutting him.
CARDINALS: Arizona signed linebacker Vic So’oto to shore up a position severely depleted by injury.