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When will TJ Hockenson return from his thumb injury?

The Lions should have their star tight end back in action this season.

Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson (88) makes a touchdown catch against Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson (33) during the third quarter at Ford Field. Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Tight end TJ Hockenson was one of few bright spots for the Detroit Lions last season. In 12 games he caught 61 passes for 583 yards and scored four touchdowns. He was on his way to career year until a thumb injury following a Week 13 win, the Lions’ first, ended his season.

Injury news

Hockenson had surgery on his thumb back in December, officially shutting him down for the year. The Lions recently picked up his fifth-year option, and he should be back in time for the season.

2022 Fantasy football outlook

Hockenson is a core player for the Lions offense, and the team obviously views him as a long-term part of the picture given the easy decision to pick up his option. Detroit upgraded its wide receiver group during the offseason, adding DJ Chark in free agency and drafting Jameson Williams in the first round. They still have Amon-Ra St. Brown too. That group could eat into Hockenson’s targets, but he should still be considered one of the best tight ends available in fantasy.

There’s not much behind Hockenson on the depth chart. They drafted West Virginia tight end James Mitchell who had a breakout season in college back in 2020, but a torn ACL ended his 2021 after just a few games.