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Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson cleared to return

Nate Burleson missed seven games after crashing his car while attempting to save two pizzas. (Getty Images) Nate Burleson missed seven games after crashing his car while attempting to grab two pizzas. (Getty Images)

Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson's broken left forearm has been cleared for contact, and he should play against the Buccaneers on Sunday, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.

Burleson has missed seven games since breaking the ulna and radius in his left arm in a single-car accident on Sept. 24. The crash occurred when Burleson swerved out of his lane while trying to keep two pizzas from sliding off his passenger seat.

He returned to practice on a limited basis after the Lions' bye week and has worked with the first-team offense all week. He will wear a protective sleeve on his left arm on the field.

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Burleson, who led the Lions with 19 catches for 239 yards prior to the accident, joked about overcoming his injury and 'that pizza.'

“I don’t want to give away too much, but things are looking up for Nate Burleson,” Burleson said after practice today. “Catching some balls, getting high fives. My friends are talking to me again. Things are finally looking up. That pizza set me back, man.”

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said the Lions will benefit from Burleson’s return in several ways.

“His leadership and his energy,” Linehan said. “Just being able to have that in that huddle brings confidence to the group. And not that they don’t have that, but he just has the creditability to go in and kind of get those guys going and be kind of like that, I don’t know if he’s the mascot for the receivers, but he certainly gets them going and brings a bunch of positive energy to our team.”

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