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Allen Park — With little left to play for other than pride this season, the Detroit Lions placed defensive tackle Da'Shawn Hand on injured reserve on Tuesday, ending the rookie's season. 

Hand suffered a knee injury in the opening quarter of the team's loss to Arizona earlier this month. Prior to going down, he had been on the brightest spots on the roster. 

A fourth-round pick out of Alabama, Hand quickly worked his way into a significant role for the Lions, starting eight of 13 games, recording 27 tackles, three sacks and a pair of forced fumbles. 

More: Protecting Matthew Stafford in Lions' top job in home finale vs. Vikings

Analytics site Pro Football Focus graded Hand as one of the NFL's top 50 defensive players this season, tied with Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James for the best grade among rookies. 

To fill Hand's roster spot, the Lions promoted defensive tackle John Atkins off the practice squad. A 322-pound rookie out of Georgia, he spent this offseason with the Patriots, prior to joining Detroit's practice squad.

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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