Detroit’s rookie tight end was injured late in the game against the Bears, appearing to be rolled up after a catch, and indeed photographic evidence showed just how nasty Hockenson’s potential leg injury may be considering the way things looked.
Cameras showed Hockenson getting worked on afterward on the sideline after the play. Following the game, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Hockenson was spotted first on crutches, then on a scooter with a walking boot on. Either way, it could be bad news for Detroit given their injury problems this season.
This isn’t the first time that Hockenson has been hurt this year. He missed time after sustaining a concussion which was tough for the Lions to withstand early in the season. With only a few games left in 2019, it would be interesting to see what happens with Hockenson for his future and if he will be able to play any more games during his rookie campaign with the team.
Who Steps up for T.J. Hockenson
If Hockenson is forced to miss time, the Lions would at the very least be covered with veteran Jesse James, even as the tight end has been seldom used this season after he signed as a free agent. Detroit also has converted quarterback Logan Thomas at their disposal, and he has been playing well lately. They have also elevated fellow rookie Isaac Nauta to the roster, even though he hasn’t gotten much time this season in a starting role.
Hockenson is a key player for the team, but the Lions at the very least have plenty of options in the event that he cannot play the rest of the way for the offense. It would hurt his development, but there are players the team can count on to fill space.
T.J. Hockenson’s Role With Lions
There is simply no understating the importance of Hockenson to the Lions right now. The team isn’t getting anything from any of the other tight ends on their roster, and while he hasn’t had the most dramatic statistical impact, Hockenson has easily been the team’s top rookie in 2019 and a player capable of impacting both the run and the passing games.
Thus far this season, many fans have been chiding Hockenson for not making a bigger impact on the game. He has only 349 yards and 2 touchdowns on the year which is not the statistical impact that many people expected from him as a top 10 selection for the team.
Safe to say if Hockenson was able to play near the end of the game, things could have ended up a bit different. The Lions will have to hope that he is not in serious injury trouble and at risk of missing the rest of the season on the field and costing him some developmental time.
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