Caldwell: Zach Zenner done for season

Posted Oct 19, 2015

Running back Zach Zenner’s promising rookie season is coming to an early end.

Zach Zenner’s promising rookie season is over.

The undrafted running back out of South Dakota State, who quickly became a fan favorite for his grit and likability, cracked multiple ribs and suffered a partially collapsed lung early in Sunday’s 37-34 overtime win over Chicago.

Zach ZennerRB Zach Zenner (Photo: Detroit Lions)

“He is in the hospital, but things are improving for him,” head coach Jim Caldwell said during his Monday press conference. “At some point in time he’ll be placed on IR (injured reserve).”

Zenner was having a fine start to the game on Sunday, gaining 15 yards on three carries (5.0 average) before suffering the injury.

It's a tough prognosis for a rookie who battled his way from undrafted status to the 53-man roster and then to playing a role as a steady contributor on both offense and special teams.

He’ll finish his rookie season with 60 yards on 17 rushes. He also caught two passes for 11 yards.

Caldwell said Zenner will undergo "a procedure", but wasn’t sure on all the details.

“He’s an integral part of what we do from an offensive standpoint,” Caldwell said of Zenner. “Tough, rugged guy, but also very involved in our special teams. Just a quality person as well.”

Caldwell talked to Zenner via phone Sunday night and said Zenner was hurting, not only physically, but emotionally as well for the missed opportunity to complete his first season in the NFL.

It seems likely the Lions would promote running back George Winn from the practice squad to take Zenner’s place on the roster. Like Zenner, Winn is a tough runner and is also good on special teams.

Winn also knows the offensive system having played in 12 games for Detroit last season.