That it's even a conversation didn't seem possible in the immediate moment last Sunday. But according to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network on Sunday morning, Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta is trending towards playing Sunday night against the Los Angeles Rams.
"#Lions Pro Bowl rookie TE Sam LaPorta, who suffered a bone bruise and hyperextended knee, is trending in the right direction to play vs the , per me and @tompelissero, Rapoport tweeted. Very limited in practice, LaPorta will likely wear a brace. But he intends to be out there with his team."
There has been general optimism all week that LaPorta could play against the Rams. He did some work off to the side and after Thursday's practice, then he was listed as questionable for the game after being a full participant in Friday's practice.
LaPorta was captured by reporters wearing a large brace during Friday's practice. He has said he will play with a brace on, if he does play, if only to protect his knee from being injured further.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press confirmed, via LaPorta himself, that the rookie tight end will wear that larger knee brace for the rest of the season.
A limited Sam LaPorta is better than no Sam LaPorta for the Lions vs. the Rams
LaPorta will definitely not be 100 percent if he plays on Sunday night, and in a broad sense it will be worth watching his playing time. Not only is he of course a top target for Jared Goff in the Lions' passing game, with 86 receptions for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns during the regular season, he is a key cog as a blocker in the run game,
But a limited LaPorta, by snap count, etc., is definitely better than the alternative of not having him at all against the Rams. A pregame workout will be the final hurdle, with his status confirmed when inactives come out 90 minutes before kickoff.