T.J. Hockenson 'in great spirits' after scary fall; Lions lose Quandre Diggs to injury
Detroit — It was one of those moments in football that makes everyone uncomfortable, when a player takes a big hit and doesn't immediately get back up.
In the third quarter of the Detroit Lions' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson was trying to turn a first-down grab into a bigger play when he attempted to hurdle linebacker Damien Wilson.
Instead, Wilson stood up and upended Hockenson, who crashed to the Ford Field turf, landing hard on his right shoulder and the side of his head.
Players from both teams were removed from the field as Detroit's training staff tended to the downed Hockenson for several minutes before he was carted off the field. It was later announced he was being evaluated for a concussion.
"You can probably ask every guy on every team, including the Chiefs today, that's a scary thing," Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "I was happy to see him stand up, move around a little bit, but it's scary."
Lions coach Matt Patricia said he got a chance to catch up with Hockenson after the game, acknowledging the injury didn't require further evaluation at a local medical facility.
"He was in great spirits," Patricia said. "His mom and dad are here. It was good. We’ll just see how it goes."
As for hurdling, which seems to becoming increasingly common across the league, Patricia said he wants his players to be smart when the decide to leave their feet.
"We have to be real careful when you do leap and you do go up in the air," Patricia said. "There is an added risk that is involved in the play, and a lot of times, I think those guys, sometimes they take real calculated risks on those situations, sometimes it’s something that we’ve seen on tape maybe previously, or an opportunity maybe a guy goes low. In that particular situation, we’re just trying to keep the players as safe as possible. I want to keep them safe."
In addition to Hockenson, safety Quandre Diggs was removed from the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. Initially, he was ruled questionable to return before he was eventually ruled out.
Rookie Will Harris and veteran Tavon Wilson have helped fill Diggs' workload.
Patricia didn't have anything new to add on Diggs' condition after the game.
Cornerback Mike Ford, starting in place of Darius Slay, came up holding his head on a kickoff return in the third quarter and was taken the the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion. He was eventually cleared and was able to return and finish the game.