Lions’ Dan Campbell Gets Candid on TE Sam LaPorta’s Chance to Play in Postseason

Sam LaPorta

Getty Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell provided an injury update for tight end Sam LaPorta and other players on January 8.

Head coach Dan Campbell of the Detroit Lions said after beating the Minnesota Vikings in Week 18 that the knee injury tight end Sam LaPorta suffered wasn’t as bad as it initially looked. Campbell confirmed that with another update in his next press conference.

Campbell told reporters on January 8 that LaPorta could possibly play as early as Wild Card weekend when the Lions host the Los Angeles Rams.

“LaPorta’s got an outside shot now,” Campbell said to the media. “So, 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.”

Campbell later added that the team is looking at LaPorta’s injury in terms of “days” and not “weeks.”

LaPorta exited Week 18 against the Vikings in the first half and didn’t return. He rode a cart into the locker room.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that LaPorta sustained a hyperextended knee and a bone bruise.

“He’s likely to miss some time,” Rapoport initially reported in a tweet. “But as coach Dan Campbell said, not as bad as it could’ve been.”

LaPorta set multiple rookie records before his exit in Week 18. He finished the regular season with 86 receptions, 889 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Lions will kick off against the Rams in the first round of the playoffs on January 14 at 8 pm ET.

Dan Campbell Balks at Idea Lions Need to Add at TE

If Campbell’s encouraging update wasn’t enough, Lions fans should find consolation in the fact that the Lions head coach said he isn’t concerned about needing to add tight end depth.

“I think we’ll be alright,” Campbell told reporters. “I know Brad’s [Holmes] got his eyes open. He’s constantly looking if there’s somewhere that will help us. But LaPorta’s got an outside shot.”

Hours after LaPorta exited on a cart, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero connected the Lions to veteran free agent tight end Zach Ertz.

“With Sam LaPorta injured, it could make sense for the Lions to bring in veteran TE Zach Ertz,” Pelissero wrote on X. “Ertz’s position coach in Arizona last year, Steven Heiden, now coaches Detroit’s tight ends.

“Rare to have a veteran with Ertz’s experience available to plug and play in the playoffs …”

The fact Campbell downplayed any thought of adding another tight end such as Ertz is a good indication that LaPorta’s injury truly won’t be long term.

Other Injuries For Lions Heading Into Playoffs

In addition to LaPorta, wide receiver Kalif Raymond also suffered an injury in Week 18. Furthermore, tight end Brock Wright and wide receiver Jameson Williams didn’t dress because of ailments.

But Campbell told reporters that Wright and Williams should both return to practice on January 10. And like in the case of LaPorta, Campbell was optimistic about Raymond.

“I think (Raymond’s) is kind of in that boat, maybe a little farther away than LaPorta,” said Campbell. “But it’s very much, we’re talking days, not weeks I think here, which is a good thing.”

Raymond had arguably his best game of the season in Week 18 before his injury. He racked up 89 punt return yards and caught 2 passes for 50 yards versus the Vikings.

Campbell didn’t name a potential replacement for Raymond at punt returner if he can’t play. But Campbell did mention Donovan Peoples-Jones as a returner candidate.

The Lions head coach also addressed the status of linebacker James Houston. He hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury in Week 2.

But Campbell wasn’t as positive about the possibility of him returning on January 14.

“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.”

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