Caldwell doubts Fauria, Ebron will play Sunday

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Bagshot, England — Lions coach Jim Caldwell does not expect tight ends Joseph Fauria or Eric Ebron to play Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, and there's a chance Brandon Pettigrew could be out, too.

All three of the Lions' top tight ends missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, but Pettigrew has the best chance of playing. He suffered a foot injury in last Sunday's win over the New Orleans Saints, but played through the pain in the second half.

"It just depends on what happens here in the next day or so," Caldwell said of the three injured tight ends. "Obviously, Brandon is still a big question mark, to be honest with you, so we'll see where that goes here in the next 24 hours — 24 or 48 hours could make a tremendous difference."

The outlook for Fauria and Ebron is less optimistic. Fauria hasn't played since Week 3 due to an ankle injury suffered away from the facility. Ebron missed the last game with a hamstring injury he suffered in practice.

"Those guys, it's a very slim chance to be honest with you," Caldwell said.

Caldwell didn't project wide receiver Calvin Johnson's availability for Sunday. The All-Pro has missed the past two games with a high-ankle sprain.

"He did work yesterday, and he, I thought, did a pretty good job. But we'll see where he is today," Caldwell said.

The other potential absence is offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle, and Caldwell said doctors have to determine his progress from a concussion he suffered last Sunday. If he can't play, Garrett Reynolds or Cornelius Lucas will start at right tackle.

Behind the three tight ends who started the season on the active roster, the Lions have Jordan Thompson, who was promoted from the practice squad last week, and Kellen Davis, whom they signed on Monday.

Thompson fills the receiving role while Davis has more of a blocking focus, but the Lions use all their tight ends in a variety of ways. Thompson went undrafted out of Ohio in 2013 and didn't have a catch in his debut last week. Davis has been in the NFL since 2008, but will make his 2014 debut Sunday.

If Pettigrew can't play, there's a chance Ifeanyi Momah will be activated from the practice squad. Although he's a wide receiver in title, Momah is 6-foot-7 and 239 pounds and has been practicing with the tight ends this week.