Report: Lions tight end Shane Zylstra could miss six months due to knee injury

It apparently looked bad when it happened, and Lions tight end Shane Zylstra’s 2023 is likely over.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The consensus from reporters on-site during Monday morning's Detroit Lions practice was clear. Tight end Shane Zylstra took a low hit to the knee from cornerback Khalil Dorsey, and had to be helped off the field.

An update on Zylstra is sure to come from head coach Dan Campbell on Wednesday morning, after the day off that's coming on Tuesday. But NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported later on Monday that Zylstra is expected to miss six months with what's believed to be a "serious and significant" knee injury.

It was certainly an iffy hit from Dorsey, one not often seen on a teammate during practice. One has to wonder how that landed with the coaching staff. Not that Dorsey is at all likely to make the 53-man roster, or possibly stick on the practice squad, anyway.

Detroit Lions: Shane Zylstra's 2023 season is all but over

Being out until six months from right now, assuming Rapoport's reported timetable proves to be the announced expected recovery timetable, means Zylstra's 2023 season is over.

Zylstra may be headed for the same path as wide receiver Tom Kennedy, waived with an injury designation with the possibility to come back to the Lions' IR list. If the team or Zylstra subsequently thinks he could play this season, then he could be released with an injury settlement. If the Lions wind up keeping him on IR, his one-year contract would toll to 2024.

Zylstra started last season on the practice squad, but he became part of the Lions' tight end rotation after T.J. Hockenson was traded last season. His highlight came in an otherwise dismal game for the team, with three touchdowns in the Christmas Eve loss to the Carolina Panthers.

If Zylstra's injury indeed takes him out of the mix, the Lions will be down to Sam LaPorta, Brock Wright, James Mitchell and Derrick Deese Jr. as the tight ends on their roster. It's worth mentioning LaPorta also left practice on Monday, but the reason is not clear.

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