Insider Shares Potentially Grim Injury Update on Lions TE Sam LaPorta

Sam LaPorta


Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta opened up about his early career success in an interview with Fox 2’s Dan Miller.

The Detroit Lions could be heading into the playoffs with a question mark at tight end after rookie Sam LaPorta went down with a knee injury in the January 7 season finale against the Minnesota Vikings.

LaPorta went down with a knee injury with just under two minutes remaining in the first half. His left leg appeared to be caught in the turf as he was tackled, bending awkwardly. The rookie was in visible pain as the team’s medical staff tended to him on the field, and he was taken to the locker room.

The Lions ruled out LaPorta for the game, and an insider suggested that he could be out for much longer.

Potentially Costly Injury for Lions

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press took to X to share an update from Sports Injury Central that suggested LaPorta may have suffered a multi-week injury. The team had not yet updated the extent of LaPorta’s injury.

The Lions had already clinched an NFC North title and went into their season finale with only a slim chance of earning the No. 2 overall seed, needing both a win against the Vikings and losses from the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. Lions head coach Dan Campbell elected to play Detroit’s starters, a decision that has come under criticism after LaPorta’s injury.

“LaPorta hurt on the play,” wrote The Athletic’s Jake Ciely on X. “This is why I was strongly against Campbell playing the starters. Hope it’s not serious”

The Lions had also faced some criticism for their decision to draft LaPorta in the second round despite having a number of needs on defense. Campbell defended the call from general manager Brad Holmes, saying in December that both LaPorta and fellow rookie Jahmyr Gibbs — the first-round running back — were great picks.

“I’m just going to bring it back to Brad Holmes,” Campbell said. “It’s a hell of a job by him once again.

“Took a lot of criticism for those two picks. But they look like they’re ok, so I’m glad we’ve got them.”

Sam LaPorta Made History Before Injury

Prior to his injury, the game had been a notable one for the rookie tight end. LaPorta’s 2-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter set the NFL record for most receptions in a season by a rookie tight end. As Justin Rogers of the Detroit News noted, he also set a trio of franchise records for tight ends.

“Sam LaPorta has now set the Lions’ single-season record for receptions by a tight end, passing Brandon Pettigrew’s mark from 2011,” Rogers wrote. “LaPorta already holds the team records for tight end receiving yards and touchdowns. These are not rookie records.”

As ESPN’s Eric Woodyard noted, LaPorta became just the third tight end in league history with double-digit receiving touchdowns, joining Mike Ditka and Rob Gronkowski. LaPorta was also named to the Pro Bowl, only the second tight end in Lions history to earn a spot.

If LaPorta is unable to suit up in the playoffs, the Lions would need to turn to Brock Wright, who made 13 catches for 91 yards and one touchdown this season as the backup to LaPorta.

Nathan Dougherty is a sports reporter covering the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions for Previously he wrote for the Rochester Business Journal and served as the assistant editor of athletic trade magazines Coaching Management, Athletic Management and Training & Conditioning. He is based out of Rochester, New York, and loves everything football. More about Nathan Dougherty

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