Lions desperately thin at tight end after knee injuries to Jason Cabinda, Shane Zylstra

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Atlanta — The Detroit Lions came into Sunday's game with the Atlanta Falcons already light on bodies and experience at tight end following a season-ending injury to Pro Bowler T.J. Hockenson.

But the team ended the day in a more perilous position after Shane Zylstra and fullback Jason Cabinda — who had been playing tight end alignments on many snaps in recent weeks  both suffered knee injuries that knocked them from the contest. 

Lions fullback Jason Cabinda (45) lies injured against the Falcons during the first half Sunday in Atlanta.

Cabinda exited late in the first quarter after making his second reception. Initially listed as questionable to return, he was ultimately ruled out after going to the locker room for further evaluation. 

"I'm being totally honest with you, losing Cabinda hurt today," Lions coach Dan Campbell said after the game. "There was a number of things we had up and just (part of) our base game plan, run action, all those things. He's kinda one of those unsung heroes, and he does so many things for us. His versatility sometimes goes unnoticed and, man, it hurt a little bit."

Zylstra went down in the middle of the third quarter when he was rolled up on from behind by one of his offensive linemen while blocking on a running play. A cart was immediately rushed on the field and he was ruled out minutes later. 

Campbell didn't have an immediate prognosis for either player, but he also wasn't optimistic. 

"I don't know for sure," he said. "I would say right now both of them probably don't look very favorable for next week. We'll see where they go.

With Cabinda and Zylstra sidelined, it left the Lions with only rookie Brock Wright at tight end for the remainder of the game. The team also continued to use offensive tackle Will Holden as a tight end.

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers