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Lions Wild Card injury report: Sam LaPorta ‘optimistic’ after on-field work

Checking in on the Detroit Lions' Thursday injury report for Wild Card weekend, as they prepare to take on the Los Angeles Rams.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Detroit Lions were back on the practice field on Thursday as they continue to prepare to take on the Los Angeles Rams in the Wild Card round of the 2023-24 playoffs. The Lions were able to return several players to practice today, including veteran offensive linemen, Frank Ragnow, Taylor Decker, and Graham Glasgow. While rookie tight end Sam LaPorta got in some post-practice work with Jared Goff.

NOTE: Any changes from last week’s injury report will be bolded.

No practice

  • QB Teddy Bridgewater (personal)
  • WR Kalif Raymond (knee)
  • TE Sam LaPorta (knee)
  • CB Jerry Jacobs (thigh/knee) — downgraded

LaPorta was technically a non-participant in Thursday’s practice, but he revealed to the media afterward that he got some work in after practice.

“I got some reps today at practice, starting to feel better day-by-day, and see where it takes me tomorrow,” LaPorta said. Really just taking it a day at a time. When it first happened, it didn’t feel great, and I feel like I’ve started to bounce back quickly. We’ll see.”

Adding shortly thereafter, “Yeah, I’m optimistic.”

When asked to clarify what work he got in, here’s what he said:

“I was taking the same blocking reps that we do in our individual drill. I was getting reps of those. Ran some routes with Jared (Goff),” LaPorta said.

Bridgewater absence is listed as personal. There is no other information out at this time.

Raymond continues to miss practice as expected. It seems like a longshot that he will be ready to play by Sunday and the Lions have already been considering alternative punt returner options.

“For us, it’ll be the best player for our football team that we have available to us to use that we think can also manage the roles,” special teams coordinator Dave Fipp told the media. “So, guys like (Amon-Ra) St. Brown, could he do that? It’s possible. He’s been an emergency returner for us all season long. Obviously, we’ve got Donovan (Peoples-Jones) who did it in Cleveland, so that could be an option. And then you’ve got (Maurice) Mo Alexander on the practice squad if we’re able to get him up, he’d be a great option. He’s a great player. So, anyway, it’ll be one of those.”

Jacobs was listed on the injury report on Wednesday as limited due to a thigh injury and a knee injury was added to the list today. While his absence from practice the following day is not unusual, he took to social media to tweet out a message thanking Detroit—which is a bit cryptic, considering roster spots are at a premium.

Before we get the cart ahead of the horse, it’s important to note that at this time, Jacobs is still on the roster and there have been no obvious indications that he is in jeopardy of being released—though a move to injured reserve could end his season. We will be tracking this situation if anything unfolds.

Limited practice

  • TE James Mitchell (hand) — NEW INJURY

It’s not exactly great timing for Mitchell to have an injury with LaPorta’s status up in the air and Brock Wright returning from injury this week, but we’ll have to wait and see if the second-year tight end is in danger of missing Sunday’s game or if this is a relatively minor injury.

Full practice

  • C Frank Ragnow (toe/back/knee/rest)
  • LT Taylor Decker (rest)
  • RG Graham Glasgow (rest)
  • WR Jameson Williams (ankle)
  • TE Brock Wright (hip)
  • DT John Cominsky (illness)
  • EDGE James Houston (ankle, IR) — evaluation days remaining: 7
  • CB Cameron Sutton (toe/heel)
  • DB Brian Branch (wrist)

After taking a rest day on Wednesday, Ragnow, Decker, and Glasgow all returned to practice on Thursday. Ragnow is still managing multiple injuries but he has played through them weekly.

Williams and Wright continue to trend in the right direction after missing last week’s game. Wright could play a pivotal role if LaPorta is unable to play this week.

Cominsky continues to battle through an illness but getting in practice is a good sign.

Houston’s return to the roster looked like a long journey but getting in full practices is a good sign he is close to being activated from injured reserve. Whether or not he plays in the playoffs will depend on what he does at practice.

“Go out and practice and see how effective you can be,” defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said regarding what Houston needs to do to get back on the field. “If you’re effective, then we’ll put you in there and let you play.”

Sutton and Branch have each stacked full practices this week, and are expected to be available for the weekend. With the Rams' powerful offense on tap, they’ll need all their starting players in their secondary to be ready to go.

Rams injury report

Note: starters are bolded.

Did not practice

  • OL Joe Noteboom (foot)
  • LB Troy Reeder (knee)
  • FS Jordan Fuller (ankle)

Limited practice

  • TE Tyler Higbee (shoulder)
  • RG Kevin Dotson (shoulder)

Full practice

  • RT Rob Havenstein (rest)

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