Jan 7, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta (87) catches a pass in front of Minnesota Vikings safety Josh Metellus (44) in the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

‘Optimistic’ Lions TE Sam LaPorta takes live practice reps Thursday

Detroit’s second-leading receiver this season sparked optimism he can play through a knee injury in Sunday’s playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Sam LaPorta said he took live reps Thursday after participating in the Lions’ walkthrough practice on Wednesday, a signal the record-setting rookie tight end continues to improve and progress toward taking the field in the wild-card matchup.

Head coach Dan Campbell said Wednesday a decision on LaPorta’s status for the wild-card game Sunday night would be made Friday at the earliest.

“I don’t foresee us knowing anything or feeling like we have a real good picture until Friday afternoon,” Campbell said. “But he’s improving.”

Wide receiver Jameson Williams (ankle) continues to participate and could have his injury designation removed before the game.

On Monday, Campbell gave LaPorta an “outside shot” to play this week. He avoided a season-ending knee injury, but his availability for the first round of the playoffs appeared to be in peril when he left the field in the second quarter of last Sunday’s win over the Minnesota Vikings.

LaPorta broke the NFL rookie tight end record for receptions Sunday with his 82nd catch, also his 10th touchdown of the season, a 2-yard score with 8:06 left in the first quarter.

LaPorta ended the regular season with 86 receptions for 889 yards and 10 TD catches. He was second on the team in catches and yards to Amon-Ra St. Brown, who also caught 10 touchdowns and tallied 119 receptions for 1,515 yards in the regular season.

–Field Level Media

Jan 7, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta (87) is carted off the field after an injury during second quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Coach gives Lions TE Sam LaPorta ‘outside shot’ to play

Lions coach Dan Campbell gives rookie tight end Sam LaPorta an “outside shot” to play in Detroit’s wild-card playoff game Sunday night against the Los Angeles Rams.

“LaPorta’s got an outside shot now. We’ll know a lot in 48 hours. He’s got an outside shot,” Campbell said Monday. “It’s very much we’re talking days, not weeks, which is a good thing.”

LaPorta avoided a season-ending left knee injury on Sunday, but his availability for the first round of the playoffs appeared to be in peril when he left the field in the second quarter of the win over the Minnesota Vikings.

Campbell said general manager Brad Holmes has scoured the team’s free agent list to “see if there is someone that will help us,” Campbell said.

Reports late Sunday connected former Eagles and Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz to the Lions. Ertz is unsigned after being released by the Cardinals last month.

“I think we’ll be alright,” Campbell said. “Brad’s got his eyes open. He’s always looking.”

LaPorta broke the NFL rookie tight end record for receptions Sunday with his 82nd catch, also his 10th touchdown of the season, a 2-yard score with 8:06 left in the first quarter.

On the first play after the two-minute warning in the second quarter, LaPorta was split wide, left of the formation and caught a short pass from Jared Goff. Vikings safety Josh Metellus closed quickly on the in-cutting route and tackled LaPorta high. As LaPorta went to the turf, he appeared to reach for his left knee, buckling under the weight of Metellus on his back and to the turf.

He went to the locker room on a cart.

LaPorta ended the regular season with 86 receptions for 889 yards with 10 TD catches.

–Field Level Media

Jan 7, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta (87) is carted off the field after an injury during second quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Lions: TE Sam LaPorta’s knee injury ‘not good news’

Detroit Lions rookie tight end Sam LaPorta avoided a season-ending left knee injury on Sunday, but his availability for the wild-card round of the playoffs next week is in peril.

“The best way I can put it is, it’s probably not as bad as it looked. But it’s not good news,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said Sunday. “I know it looked awful. It’s not as bad as that. It doesn’t mean it looks good to have him here in the immediate, to have him for a game.”

LaPorta broke the NFL rookie tight end record for receptions with his 82nd catch, also his 10th touchdown of the season, a 2-yard score with 8:06 left in the first quarter.

On the first play after the two-minute warning in the second quarter, LaPorta caught was split wide, left of the formation and caught a short pass from Jared Goff. Vikings safety closed quickly on the in-cutting route and tackled LaPorta high. As LaPorta went to the turf, he appeared to reach for his left knee, buckling under the weight of Metellus on his back and to the turf.

He went to the locker room on a cart.

LaPorta ended the regular season with 86 receptions for 889 yards.

He was one of four Lions to score 10 touchdowns this season.

–Field Level Media