Lions’ Halapoulivaati Vaitai’s Career Could Be Over
A serious back injury cost Halapoulivaati Vaitai all of 2022.
That same injury looks like it'll cost him the rest of this season, and maybe even more.
Lions head coach Dan Campbell announced Wednesday that Vaitai's season.is probably over after re-aggravating his back, causing the team to place him on IR.
"Just a little bit of residual effect of (the back injury he had last year)," Campbell said. "There’s nothing easy about the injury he’s had to come back from, then he had the knee (injury earlier this year). He’s been rehabbing this thing for a long time. He’s put in a ton of work. And that’s not easy. That’s not easy at all. He's the type of guy, you ask him how he’s doing, he always says he’s fine. That’s just him. So no matter what, I told him, we want him around here, he wants to be around and he’s still very much a part of us and what we are here."
Graham Glasgow, who has already played often this season, will take over for Vaitai.
Vaitai had surgery on his back over the offseason. The injury and subsequent recovery, during which he spent a lot of time with his family on their cattle ranch in Texas, caused him to consider retirement. He ultimately opted to return to the Lions and the NFL, but will he ponder retirement now that his back has flared up again? And if he does, will his decision be different this time?
After spending his first four pro seasons with the Eagles, Vaitai signed a five-year, $50 million contract with Detroit ahead of the 2020 season. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of TCU.
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