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Rams TE Tyler Higbee tore ACL on low hit by Lions S Kerby Joseph in wild-card loss

It’s unclear if Higbee will be fully recovered in time to start the 2024 season

Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee suffered a torn ACL when he took a low, controversial hit in their wild-card loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday night, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

An MRI confirmed the injury Tuesday, per the report. It’s unclear how long Higbee will be out recovering, but he now “faces a challenge” to be ready for the start of next season.

Higbee went down in the fourth quarter of the Rams’ 24-23 loss to the Lions at Ford Field, which marked Detroit’s first playoff win in more than three decades. Higbee was trying to make a catch coming across the middle of the field when Lions safety Kerby Joseph struck his right leg directly with his helmet.

The hit sent Higbee’s right knee bending awkwardly back as he fell to the turf. He eventually limped off the field and didn’t return.

It’s unclear if Tyler Higbee will be fully recovered in time to start next season with the Rams.
It’s unclear if Tyler Higbee will be fully recovered in time to start next season with the Rams. (Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images) (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Joseph’s hit drew plenty of criticism, though he was quick to defend himself after the game.

"All seriousness, this game we play is very dangerous," Joseph wrote on social media, in part. "I'm praying for bro and his family. I don't have no intention to hurt nobody and or harm their career."

Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone defended Joseph after the win, too. In his eyes, the move was about all that Joseph could have done in that situation, based on the rules.

"Honestly, it's what this league is now," he said, via ESPN. "You have to go low, you can't go high, and it's a clinic tackle, in my opinion. I know they exchanged words after, but there's nothing else that we can do defensively now. That's what the league office wants."

Higbee didn’t have a catch and was targeted just the one time in the wild-card game. He had 495 yards and two touchdowns on 47 catches this season, his eighth in the league. The 31-year-old signed a two-year, $27 million extension with the team last fall that will keep him with the Rams through the 2025 season.