Corey Hilliard placed on IR after inspiring play Monday night

Posted Sep 10, 2014

After playing with a painful foot injury Monday night, tackle Corey Hilliard will be placed on injured reserve, ending his season.

Corey Hilliard knew right away after a Giants defender rolled up his leg in the third quarter that he’d suffered a serious foot injury.

“I’ve never felt that kind of pain in my foot,” Hilliard said in the locker room Wednesday after being diagnosed with a Lisfranc injury. “As soon as it happened I knew it wasn’t good.”

The Lions had already lost starting right tackle LaAdrian Waddle to a calf injury in the first quarter and Hilliard was the last tackle remaining on the active game-day roster.

Corey HilliardT Corey Hilliard (Photo: Detroit Lions)

So, the sixth-year pro played a quarter and a half of football on one of the most painful foot injuries a player can suffer.

“We really didn’t have a choice with Wad (Waddle) being out,” Hilliard said. “So I just tried to get into the way of guys.”

Head coach Jim Caldwell said there was a point in the second half when the Lions were preparing tight end Brandon Pettigrew to play tackle if it came to that.

It didn’t, obviously, because Hilliard gutted it out through the pain. It’s something teammates and coaches certainly took notice of, and appreciated.

“That’s tough. That’s a warrior right there,” veteran center Dominic Raiola said of Hilliard. “I don’t think anyone really realizes how hard it is to play through injuries, especially that injury, unless you see someone do it or hear about it.”

Hilliard said adrenalin helped get him through the game, but he couldn’t put any weight on the foot soon after the game and said he shouted out in pain when he got out of bed and tried to put weight on it Tuesday morning.

He’s scheduled to have surgery next week and the Lions will place him on injured reserve sometime Wednesday.

“I think it sets a great precedent,” head coach Jim Caldwell said about Hilliard finishing that game. “I don’t think there’s any question about that. I think all of those guys have that kind of mentality.”

Hilliard said it wasn’t a case of him trying to be heroic; there simply wasn't another option at tackle.

“(Matthew Stafford) and Joe (Lombardi) came up to me and we kind of formulated a plan, what we could do to kind of keep me out of situations where I could potentially hurt the team,” Hilliard said.

“We did a few more chips and Stafford would come up to me and say, “Hey, we’re going to run this, are we good with that?’

Hilliard described his emotions on Wednesday as “shell shocked” and it’ll hit him on Sunday when he’s watching the game at home.

“It was pretty inspiring for him to play,” Stafford said.

The team signed offensive lineman Garrett Reynolds Wednesday morning to take his place on the roster. Reynolds was with the team in training camp and was released during final cuts.

The Lions also have undrafted rookie Cornelius Lucas on the roster at right tackle.

Either Reynolds or Lucas is expected to start at right tackle.

The Lions will be facing one of the best defensive lines in football in Carolina on Sunday. It’s a front Caldwell said presents “a host” of challenges to the Lions’ offensive line.

“Obviously, with (Greg) Hardy on one side, he’s a guy that can get up the field,” Caldwell said. “Their front four is a talented group and then they have possibly one of the best middle linebackers in all of football (Luke Kuechly).”

“Overall, it’s a really good defense and we’re certainly going to have to get ourselves ready to go to handle that crew.”