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Nate Burleson trying for 1,000 yards for Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson embraced the jokes after his pizza-induced car accident. Now, he's making his goals public.

"When I get back, I'm still going to try to go after that 1,000 yards," Burleson said, per the Detroit News on Wednesday. "So that means I've got to have enough games to do it, which means I should be back soon."

Burleson said he's ahead of schedule and will have the hard cast on his left arm taken off Thursday and swapped for a removable splint. He also told the News that he stopped taking painkillers, has been running and has full strength in everything but the arm he broke in two places.

The Lions' leading pass catcher before his injury, Burleson had 239 yards on 19 catches through the first three weeks of the season. After his surgery, it was reported that the receiver had hoped to be back by November, at the latest.

If Burleson comes back in Week 10 (following the Lions' bye week), he'd still need 761 yards in the final eight games or just more than 95 yards per game.

The Lions haven't swung a deal to replace Burleson's production, so his starting spot still should be there when he returns; Ryan Broyles has done next to nothing thus far. However, let's slow down the Burleson-for-1,000-yards campaigns.

As a Lion, he has just three games (including Week 3 of this season) with more than 95 yards receiving. In the one season he breached the 1,000-yard mark (2004 in Minnesota), he had just four 100-yard games.

There is no question that Burleson plays an important role in the Lions' offense as a receiver who can make catches in traffic and take advantage of one-on-one matchups. However, the key to the Lions' offense, as we saw in last week's win over the Chicago Bears, is a balanced running game with Reggie Bush and Matthew Stafford spreading the ball around.

The 3-1 Lions lead the NFC North at the quarter-pole. Getting Burleson back early would be a big boon to their chances of winning the division. But no matter how early he returns, Burleson is not reaching 1,000 receiving yards. You can take that to the pizzeria.

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