In the second quarter of the Detroit Lions’ regular season finale against the Minnesota Vikings, rookie tight end Sam LaPorta suffered a knee injury. LaPorta initially went under the blue tent after walking off under his own power. However, after a couple of minutes in there, LaPorta was then carted to the locker room. He is officially questionable to return.
UPDATE: LaPorta has been downgraded to out for the remainder of the game.
LaPorta was having a monster season for the Lions. Coming into Week 18, the rookie tight end had 81 catches for 860 yards and nine touchdowns. On Sunday, LaPorta added five more catches for 29 yards and a touchdown. In the first quarter of the game, he set a Lions franchise record for most receptions in a season by a tight end.
Hopefully, this injury isn’t as bad as it looks, but this will undoubtedly spark debate about whether the Lions made the right decision about playing starters against the Vikings. Detroit still had an unlikely shot at getting the two seed in the NFC with a win and a loss by the Cowboys and Eagles. However, the third seed was the far more likely outcome regardless of whether Detroit won this game or not.
When asked earlier in the week, coach Dan Campbell insisted that as long as the two seed was still in play, they were going to play their starters.
If LaPorta can’t go next week in the playoffs, it leaves the Lions very shorthanded at the position, as TE2 Brock Wright has missed the last three games with an injury.
This story is developing. We’ll have more news as it comes in.
UPDATE: Coach Dan Campbell gave the following update on LaPorta:
“The best way I can put it is it’s not as bad as it looked, but it’s not good news.”
UPDATE 2: Per Ian Rapoport, LaPorta is expected “to miss some time.”
#Lions Pro Bowl TE Sam LaPorta suffered a hyperextended knee and a bone bruise, source said after the MRI. He’s likely to miss some time, but as coach Dan Campbell said, not as bad as it could’ve been.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 7, 2024
UPDATE 3: ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler is reporting the same injury, but spins it in a more positive way: