Dan Campbell credits Lions training staff for Sam LaPorta being able to play vs. Rams

Sam LaPorta being able to play against the Rams on Sunday night was quite a feat, and Lions head coach Dan Campbell gave credit where credit was due.

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
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As has been said, at the moment he was injured in the regular season finale it was easy to assume the worst for Lions tight end Sam LaPorta. A subsequent MRI revealed "only" a hyperextended left knee and a bone bruise, but LaPorta's status for the Wild Card Round against the Rams remained up in the air.

But positive sentiment from head coach Dan Campbell all week yielded LaPorta doing some side work on Thursday. Then he was listed as a full participant in Friday's practice, and was listed as questionable for Sunday night's game. Sunday morning's report he was trending the right direction to play was not surprising.

LaPorta had a touchdown on Sunday night, as he caught all three passes sent his direction by Jared Goff.

It was going to be interesting to see how much LaPorta was able to play on Sunday night. He played a little less than normal, as expected, but he played 45 snaps and an 80 percent snap share in the game.

Dan Campbell credits "magic" of Lions' training staff for getting Sam LaPorta ready to go

LaPorta obviously avoided the worst-case scenario with his knee injury. But it was still going to be a undertaking to get him ready to play on Sunday night, let alone play close to his normal snap count like he did. Pain tolerance was going to be a huge factor, and playing with a lineman's brace on his knee was going to be an adjustment for the rookie tight end.

After the game, via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News, Campbell gave credit to the Lions' training staff for their effort to get LaPorta ready.

"He did a ton (to get ready for this game), and it’s a credit to (director of player health and performance Brett Fischer) Fish and those guys, (head athletic trainer Mike) Sundeen, our trainers, and all those guys to get him back. It was honestly, it was kind of 24-hour care there," Campbell said. "I don’t know all the voodoo magic they did to him, I can’t explain all of it, but it was critical, just getting the swelling out, and getting it to where it felt better, and to where he trusted it.

"....Credit to all those guys and certainly Sam," Campbell continued. "I mean he’s tough. He’s tough and he wasn’t going to let it hold him down."

The Lions' training staff doing what they did all week to get LaPorta ready to go was obviously huge, but as Campbell also said LaPorta's toughness shouldn't be discounted. A less than 100 percent version of LaPorta is still better than a lot of tight ends, and his being out there on Sunday night was meaningful to the victory beyond his touchdown.

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