The Detroit Lions have seen injuries pile up at tons of key positions on the field, and the offensive line has been one of the most dinged-up spots of the roster all season long.
Once again, the Lions sustained a tough injury in the first half of Week 11 against the Cleveland Browns. Guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai managed to get injured and leave the game to be evaluated for a concussion in the first half.
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The Lions revealed that Vaitai would be evaluated for a concussion during the game with a tweet:
Detroit then quickly updated Vaitai’s status out of the locker room, and confirmed he was lost for the rest of the game.
Losing Vaitai is yet another blow for a dinged-up Detroit line.
Lions Offensive Line Hurting During 2021
The trouble for the Detroit offensive line started early on in the season, with tackle Taylor Decker missing most of the first half of the season with a hand injury sustained before the season even began. That forced Penei Sewell to play left tackle while Matt Nelson had to play on the right side. From there, the team lost center Frank Ragnow to a toe injury which required surgery, forcing Ragnow to be out for the rest of the 2021 season. Detroit also lost Matt Nelson after Week 10, and he was put on the shelf for Week 11. As a result of all of this, the Lions have not been able to have their expected starting lineup together up front at all so far this season.
If Vaitai has to be out any length of time, it would be yet another bad injury for this group in a season of struggles.
Vaitai’s Career NFL Statistics
Vaitai, out of TCU, is only 26 years old and has 20 career starts under his belt from his time with the Eagles which is where he started his career. Vaitai has also played in 55 NFL games in his career, and was a former fifth round pick of the Eagles from back in 2016.
Vaitai helped the Eagles win Super Bowl LII a few years back, and is an up and coming lineman in the league given these facts. A big selling point when he came to Detroit was his ability to play either tackle spot or guard, even though Vaitai is an offensive tackle by trade. In Detroit, he’s done a bit of both so far but been used at guard most regularly. The results haven’t been great thus far, but that could have plenty to do with his injury and how he’s never quite been himself this season since joining the team.
So far this season, Vaitai has played well up front for the team amid a decent season for the offensive line all things considered. The Lions will have to hope he is completely healthy and avoids serious injury in this case.