Lions opt to place quarterback Kitna on injured reserve

Updated: October 14, 2008, 5:20 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Detroit Lions quarterback Jon Kitna, who did not travel with the team and missed Sunday's 12-10 loss against the Minnesota Vikings because of a back injury, was placed on injured reserve Tuesday afternoon.

"After extensive examination and consultation with the team medical staff, it became clear that placing Jon on injured reserve was the right decision," Lions interim general manager Martin Mayhew said Tuesday in a statement. "Jon and I met today and discussed moving forward with respect to his rehabilitation which will be done in coordination with our medical staff."

Jon Kitna

Kitna

The Oakland (Mich.) Press reported early Tuesday that according to a source with knowledge of the situation, the Lions had been looking to trade Kitna, but if that didn't work out, they would put him on injured reserve.

Sunday's game was the first he had not started since joining the Lions before the 2006 season.

"Jon injured his back in the first half two weeks ago against Chicago," Lions team physician Dr. Kyle Anderson said in a statement. "This represents an acute exacerbation of a chronic condition. Rather than risking further injury, it's the collective opinion of the medical staff that the best decision is to place Jon on the injured reserve list allowing him to complete a rehabilitation program."

Kitna told The Associated Press on Monday, however, that his injury wasn't that serious.

"I'll eventually be able to play," Kitna said. "I don't know if it will be this week."

Given the possibility Kitna could return to play this season, the Lions were looking for a team who might be in the market for a backup. When no serious contenders surfaced, the Lions put him on injured reserve.

Kitna's agent, Mike Moye, declined to comment to The Press.

Lions coach Rod Marinelli had declined to discuss Kitna's playing or health status on Monday, saying: "We'll have information about the injury for you on Wednesday. I'm not going to discuss that until we have a chance to meet with the trainers, coaches and doctors. As for the starting lineup, I won't talk about that until Sunday."

Marinelli's reticence was unusual because Kitna's injury happened Oct. 5, and Kitna had an MRI exam in the middle of last week.

"I'm not going to give out partial information," Marinelli said. "I've done that in the past, and it has ended up with incorrect information being printed."

Fourth-year pro Dan Orlovsky played in the loss to the Vikings. Drew Stanton, a second-round pick last year, was the Lions' No. 2 quarterback for the first time in his career.

Kitna threw for 758 yards this season, with five touchdowns and five interceptions.

Kitna had 4,000-plus yards passing in each of the past two seasons in Detroit and combined to throw 39 TDs and 42 interceptions.

He has thrown 152 TDs and 151 interceptions in 115 games for the Seattle Seahawks, Cincinnati Bengals and the Lions since making it to the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 1997.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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