Lions' Ebron carted off field during team's mock game

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Detroit – The Lions were dealt a potentially devastating blow during the team’s Saturday mock game at Ford Field when tight end Eric Ebron suffered a right leg injury.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the early word is that it's an Achilles injury.

The injury occurred in the fourth quarter of the scrimmage, during an Ameer Abdullah run. Coach Jim Caldwell quickly cleared the area, sending the players to the opposite end of the field to continue practice while trainers tended to Ebron. He eventually needed to be carted off the field and wasn’t able to put any weight on the injured leg.

The Lions are already thin at the tight end position with Brandon Pettigrew recovering from an ACL tear suffered in December. If Ebron’s injury is season-ending, or shelves him for any extended period of time, it leaves Detroit with blocking tight end Matthew Mulligan, recent addition Orson Charles and undrafted rookies Cole Wick, Ben McCord and Adam Fuehne.

“All of us are obviously going to have to step up,” Mulligan said. “Ebron is an incredible player. Injuries are unfortunately part of this game, but if there’s anybody who can come back from it quickly, it would be him because he’ll do everything he needs to do to get it done.”

An eight-year veteran, Mulligan is primarily known for his blocking ability. In 81 career games, the 6-foot-4, 278-pounder has registered just 17 receptions. He did note the Lions have been working him into the passing game more than he expected after signing with the club as a free agent this offseason. If required, he feels confident in his ability to contribute in an expanded role.

“Nobody can be somebody else. We can only be who we are,” Mulligan said.  “If it comes down to it, and they call my number, I’ll be ready.“

During the scrimmage, Wick was sprinkled into the first-team offense throughout the day, before fully replacing Ebron. Wick ended up catching a short touchdown pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford after Ebron went down.

Charles, signed by the Lions after a minicamp tryout in June, also flashed during the contest, catching a pair of first down throws from backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky.

“Just being able to pick up the playbook since I just got here a couple weeks ago,” Charles said. “Yes, it’s a lot, but I just wanted to show them I know what I’m doing.”

The No. 10 pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Ebron caught 47 passes for 537 yards and five touchdowns last season. He was expected to have an even larger role in the offense this year.