Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell gave a bunch of injury updates on Monday, including a fairly optimistic outlook on tight end Sam LaPorta, and good news regarding both wide receiver Jameson Williams and tight end Brock Wright.
Let’s break it down one by one.
Original reports are that LaPorta suffered a hyperextended knee and a bone bruise, but Campbell said there’s an outside chance the rookie tight end could even play this week against the Los Angeles Rams.
“LaPorta’s got an outside shot now,” Campbell said. “We’ll see. We’ll know a lot—in 48 hours we’re going to know a lot with him. But he’s got an outside shot.”
Later adding, “We’re talking days, not weeks here.”
Campbell also said that the Lions aren’t expecting to add outside help at the position, with Anthony Firkser, James Mitchell, and potentially Brock Wright back this week (more on that later).
“No, I think we’ll be alright,” Campbell said.
Raymond also suffered a knee injury and did not return against the Vikings. Campbell put him in the same category as LaPorta, but perhaps a little behind the tight end.
“I think (Raymond’s) in that boat, maybe a little farther away than LaPorta,” Campbell said.
Raymond is coming off an outstanding game as a punt returner against the Vikings, something Campbell made note of to begin his press conference. Campbell noted that they are currently examining replacement options, including Donovan Peoples-Jones, an acquisition Detroit made at the trade deadline.
“(Special teams coordinator Dave) Fipp and I are still talking about that,” Campbell said. “He’s certainly a candidate.”
Based on Campbell’s comments, it certainly sounds like Williams will play this week after missing one game with an ankle injury.
“I think Jamo’s going to be good here,” Campbell said. “He should be good to go practicing on Wednesday.”
Williams was just starting to hit his stride with the Lions, earning at least 40 receiving yards in five of his last seven games. He also provides the Lions with big play potential, as evidenced by his 63-yard catch against the Cowboys.
As alluded to before, it sounds like Wright could make his return after missing the last three games with an injury.
“I think Brock’s going to be good to go,” Campbell said. “He’ll be out there practicing as well.”
While Wright hasn’t be a huge offensive weapon this year (13 catches, 91 yards, 1 TD), he has been a key part in Detroit’s run and pass blocking plans as the team’s TE2. If LaPorta can’t go this week, Wright is likely to get a big load of playing time on offense.
If there was one pessimistic outlook from Campbell, it’s that of second-year pass rusher James Houston, who is entering his third week of practice following a fractured ankle in Week 2. It sounds like Houston isn’t likely to play this week, but a return could be on the table if the Lions make the divisional round.
“Houston will be out there practicing, and we’ll see,” Campbell said. “He’ll be better than he was last week. Now, how much is that? How good is that going to be? I don’t know. I’m not as optimistic about him.”