The Detroit Lions have released their injury designations for their Wild Card game against the Los Angeles Rams and the big news is that it appears All-Pro tight end Sam LaPorta will have a chance to play in this game.
- WR Kalif Raymond (knee)
- TE James Mitchell (hand)
- EDGE James Houston (ankle, IR) — evaluation days remaining: 6
- CB Jerry Jacobs (thigh/knee)
Raymond’s injury looked bad when it happened and with no practice time this week, he is unsurprisingly ruled out for this game. Raymond’s absence will open the door for Donovan Peoples-Jones, who seems the most likely candidate to step into the WR4 and punt returner role.
Mitchell injured his hand mid-week, was unable to practice since the injury, and has been ruled out. It’s possible the Lions look to elevate or sign practice squad tight end Anthony Firkser, as a replacement, because Sam LaPorta is also injured and Brock Wright is coming back after missing the last three games.
Houston had been practicing in full all week and has “looked better” according to Campbell, but his being ruled out for this week’s game means he will surely not be active over the weekend. Houston still has time on his evaluation clock remaining for next week, and if the Lions are still alive in the playoffs, they will need to make a decision on his status by Wednesday.
Jerry Jacobs let it slip that he is headed to injured reserve, and while the Lions have yet to announce the move, it’s expected to happen on Saturday, as is their custom. For now, he’ll be technically ruled out on the injury report.
“Jerry had a little injury or whatever,” coach Dan Campbell said at Friday’s press conference. “We won’t make any transactions until tomorrow.”
- TE Sam LaPorta (knee)
- DT John Cominsky (illness)
After getting some extra work in after practice on Thursday and feeling “optimistic” about his chances of playing on Sunday, LaPorta returned to practice on Friday, taking a major step forward toward playing against the Rams.
“I’m going to revert back to what I said two days ago,” Campbell commented when asked about LaPorta’s playing status. “So, we’ll know much, much more after today’s practice. And then entirely, what does it look like tomorrow when he wakes up? I know this, he’s gotten better every day. And so, we’re going to have him out there, take some practice reps, and see where it goes.”
As a precaution, the Lions have developed two game plans for the Rams, one if LaPorta can play and another if he is unavailable, that way they have their bases covered.
“Yeah, you build a couple of different packages, one with, and one without and you’re ready for both,” Campbell explained. “And we’ve gotten enough reps of walkthrough to be able to adapt and adjust. [...] It’s a smart group. It won’t be too taxing, but we have the ability to adjust.”
With the Lions having a home game, they can take their time assessing his status over the next 48 hours and make a final decision ahead of Sunday night’s game.
Cominsky missed last week’s game due to a coaching decision to get him some rest. It’ll be interesting to see if after being sick all week he’ll be able to go. A questionable designation, despite practicing in full all week, is mildly concerning.
Not listed with an injury designation
- QB Teddy Bridgewater (personal)
- WR Jameson Williams (ankle)
- TE Brock Wright (hip)
- C Frank Ragnow (toe/back/knee/rest)
- LT Taylor Decker (rest)
- RG Graham Glasgow (rest)
- CB Cameron Sutton (toe/heel)
- DB Brian Branch (wrist)
Williams’ return to the lineup this week could be an important factor that has flown a bit under the radar. With Raymond ruled out and Williams’ speed a potential factor against the Rams outside corners, he’s set up to make an impactful splash in the postseason.
Wright missed the last three games so there could be some rust he needs to knock off, but the Lions are going to need him to get up to speed quickly with injuries to LaPorta and Mitchell.
The starting offensive line will be intact and ready to roll for the playoffs.
Sutton and Branch not being listed with injury designations, despite adding new injuries this week, is very encouraging. They’ll be needed.
Rams injury designations
Note: starters are bolded.
- TE Tyler Higbee (shoulder) — limited all week
- OL Joe Noteboom (foot)
- RG Kevin Dotson (shoulder) — limited all week
- NT Bobby Brown (illness)
- LB Troy Reeder (knee)
- FS Jordan Fuller (ankle) — did not practice all week