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Detroit — Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew was a surprise scratch from Sunday's loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and he said Tuesday the team made the "smarter decision" to give him time to let his injured right foot heal.

Pettigrew was a full participant in practice Wednesday and Thursday, and even though he was limited Friday, it was logical to expect him to play.

"It just didn't work out that way," Pettigrew said at a charity event hosted by linebacker Tahir Whitehead at the Iroquois Christ Lutheran Church in East Detroit. "We had three healthy guys and we felt like that was a smarter decision to put the healthier guys on the field."

Pettigrew wouldn't say whether or not he aggravated in the injury in practice last week. The Lions had Eric Ebron and Joseph Fauria available as receiving options, and Kellen Davis played a blocking role. Ebron had missed the last three games with a hamstring injury and Fauria hadn't played since Week 3, but both were full participants in practice all week.

Pettigrew first suffered the injury in Week 7 against the Saints, but played through the pain. He sat in Week 8 against the Falcons, but returned after the bye to play in Week 10, though he played through pain again.

With Pettigrew sidelined Sunday against Arizona, the Lions allowed four sacks and several other pressures, including one allowed by Ebron that led to an interception.

"It's very frustrating because obviously you don't want to drop games, you don't want to see your team drop games," Pettigrew said. "The way I look at things, standing on the sidelines, you always want to be able to help. When you're not, it kind of messes with you a little bit.

"That was obviously a good team that we played, and we're going to get back on it this week, look at what we did wrong and prepare for New England."

Pettigrew would not say whether or not he expects to play next Sunday against the Patriots.

"We'll see," he said.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/jkatzenstein

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