The Lions released a statement on Thursday clarifying the sequence of events following Waddle's concussion. According to the team, they were only made aware of Waddle's possible injury during the final play of the game by an NFL medical observer, writes Birkett.
"The Lions medical staff informed coach (Jim) Caldwell after the game that Waddle had not reported any injury to them until after the game..." the Lions said. "The team's medical staff also informed coach Caldwell that the NFL medical observer...did contact the team's medical staff during the final play to suggest an examination of Waddle."
After the game, Waddle's examination was performed in the locker room and the concussion protocol immediately implemented, the team added.
Waddle hit his head on the turf during the team's game-winning extra point with 1:54 remaining in the game. After the Saints turned the ball over on downs, Waddle returned to the field for the final snap as the Lions took a knee to seal the victory.
Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said the team followed the league's concussion protocol.
"We knew exactly when it occurred and what happened within the context of it," Caldwell said. "It was the last play of the game for him. It was actually on a field goal, the PAT at the end. It's the last play of the game for him."
"Well, in terms of they knew exactly what happened to him in terms of he banged his head on the ground after where he gets up," Caldwell said. "It wasn't to the point where they thought he was concussed at that time. The final snap of the game, we knew it was only one snap, then the doctors reviewed him, took a look at him, it wasn't one of those situations where he felt he had to go in the locker room right away. But they did know he banged it when he came off, and that he was good."
Waddle has not practiced this week. He missed time earlier this season with a calf injury.
The Lions have started the season 5-2 and are tied with the Green Bay Packers for first place in the NFC North. Detroit's offense is ranked No. 24 in yards, and quarterback Matthew Stafford has been sacked a league-high 24 times.
The Lions play the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. ET in London.
- Paul Palladino