The 32-year-old broke his forearm in two places last week in a car accident in which he was distracted by a pizza box sliding off of his passenger seat.
ESPN reporter Ed Werder tweeted: "Nate Burleson surgery done and he hopes to play November at latest. Plans to be on sidelines with teammates Sunday after breaking arm."
Burleson will not be placed on the injured reserve designated to return list, as their one allocated spot on the list has this season gone to Montrell Owens.
He will instead continue as a part of the Lions' active roster.