Arthroscopic surgery for Stanton leaves Lions thin at QB

The Detroit Lions have lost the services of rookie quarterback Drew Stanton for the entire season.

Stanton was placed on injured reserve Friday, just days after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.

Stanton is considered by many in Detroit as the team's quarterback of the future. He was a second-round draft choice last April, the 43rd player selected overall.

Stanton experienced swelling in his right knee Sunday and underwent the arthroscopic procedure the next day. Lions officials originally felt that he would probably miss 2-4 weeks. Upon further consideration, however, the team felt it would be more prudent for Stanton to take the season to rehabilitate the knee and to come back strong in 2008.

The loss of Stanton leaves the Lions with very little experience behind starter Jon Kitna. Dan Orlovsky and J.T. O'Sullivan remain as the backups. Kitna took every snap for Detroit in 2006, the first quarterback in team history to ever do so. The Lions traded backup Josh McCown to Oakland during the draft.

One of the most athletic quarterbacks in the 2007 draft class, Stanton combined good size (6-feet-3¾), speed (4.75 seconds in the 40) and arm strength to become a highly regarded prospect. His 64.2 percent career completion mark is the best in Spartans' history and second best in Big 10 history.

A starter for the final 2½ years of his college career, Stanton completed 543 of 846 passes for 6,524 yards, with 42 touchdown passes and 28 interceptions. He also rushed 332 times for 1,512 yards and 15 touchdowns. Stanton appeared in 36 games with 29 starts.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.