Lions record-breaking rookie tight end Sam LaPorta optimistic he will be healthy enough to face Rams

Vikings Lions Football
Posted at 6:41 PM, Jan 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-11 18:41:04-05

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta is optimistic he will be healthy enough to play against the Los Angeles Rams in an NFC wild-card game, a week after injuring his left knee.

“I got some reps today at practice," LaPorta said Thursday. “Starting to feel better day by day.”

The rookie's left leg was bent awkwardly after he caught a pass and was tackled by Minnesota safety Josh Metellus late in the first half Sunday of a win over the Vikings.

“It was certainly a little scary when it first happened,” LaPorta said. “I think everybody’s probably seen a picture of it. There was definitely a sigh or relief when I found out that structurally everything was good.”

LaPorta was not the only one thankful for the relatively good news.

The second-round pick from Iowa is one of the top players for the third-seeded Lions, who need him to help keep Matthew Stafford off the field in his return to Detroit with the sixth-seeded Rams on Sunday night at Ford Field.

The Pro Bowl player had 86 catches, breaking Keith Jackson's record for receptions by a rookie tight end from 1988 in Philadelphia, and set franchise records at the position with 889 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns.

LaPorta and Odell Beckham, in 2014 with the New York Giants, are the two rookies in league history to have at least 85 receptions, 850 yards and 10 touchdown catches.