Lions' Stephen Tulloch celebrates sack, injures knee

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Detroit — Lions middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch suffered a knee injury in the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers and did not return.

Tulloch hurt himself celebrating a sack on Green Bay's third offensive drive that forced a punt, and until the Lions provide an official update, there will be speculation that it could be a long-term injury. He has an MRI scheduled Monday.

Tulloch jumped in celebration and landed awkwardly on the knee. He exited the game after the next defensive play.

Trainers, Lions teammates and coach Jim Caldwell all surrounded Tulloch as he lay on the ground. He walked off on his own power, but after further examination, he went to the locker room.

"Not quite certain yet, but they'll evaluate him, take a look at him, and we'll see where he is," Caldwell said after the game. "I'm not quite certain what his status is at this point. We won't discuss that until we find something else out further."

Tulloch returned to the field late in the second quarter in street clothes and with a thick bandage around his left knee.

Tahir Whitehead, the strong-side option, filled in for Tulloch as the Lions primarily used nickel with just two linebackers on the field. DeAndre Levy took Tulloch's duties calling the defensive alignments.

Although Tulloch's injury could be devastating, Caldwell saw no harm in him celebrating.

"There's got to be some enthusiasm in the game," he said. "That's why a lot of these guys play. That's why we coach it because you've got passion for it. That was a big moment. Things happen.

"I remember it was some time ago where (kicker Bill) Gramatica hurt his knee. Those things are flukes."

Safety Don Carey, who returned a fumble for a touchdown on the Packers' first drive after starting as the nickel cornerback, left with a hamstring injury in the first quarter and did not return. Caldwell did not provide an update on his injury.