DETROIT (AP) — Detroit Lions rookie tight end Sam LaPorta limped off the field after appearing to hurt his left knee against Minnesota on Sunday and was later taken toward the locker room on a cart.
“It’s not as bad as it looked, but it’s not good news,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said after his team closed the regular season with a 30-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings. “We’ll know more (Monday). I know it looked awful.”
LaPorta’s injury is potentially a big blow for the NFC North champions a week before they host a playoff game.
LaPorta’s left leg was bent awkwardly after he caught a pass and was tackled by Vikings safety Josh Metellus late in the first half Sunday.
The Pro Bowl player was evaluated in a tent on the sideline before being taken away from the playing surface for further evaluation.
LaPorta had 86 catches, an NFL record by a rookie tight end that surpassed Keith Jackson’s 81 receptions in 1988 with the Philadelphia Eagles. The second-round pick from Iowa also had 889 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns.
“You can’t replace that chemistry,” quarterback Jared Goff said.
He had five receptions for 29 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown that broke a scoreless tie midway through the first quarter against the Vikings.
LaPorta also broke a franchise record for catches by a tight end with three more than Brandon Pettigrew had in 2011. He and Odell Beckham Jr. are the two rookies in NFL history who had at least 86 catches and 10 touchdown receptions.
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