Kerryon Johnson Injury: Lions Get Bad News on Running Back

Kerryon Johnson

Getty Kerryon Johnson plays the Chargers.

The Detroit Lions watched Kerryon Johnson go down with a knee injury on Sunday, and now, that injury is set to cost him some major time on the field.

According to Matt Patricia, Johnson had knee surgery on Tuesday, and the Lions are placing him on IR with the hope that he can return later on this season. As Patricia said, he feels bad for Johnson, but is still hopeful for his eventual return.

The Injury

Johnson went down with a knee injury against the Vikings and was spotted wearing a knee brace on the sidelines. He was called questionable, and didn’t return to the game.

Monday, nobody seemed quite sure how much time Johnson would miss, but the injury was called week to week. Now, however, the surgery decision means Johnson will definitively be lost for some time.

In the early part of his career, Johnson has suffered from knee trouble, missing the end of the 2018 season thanks to the troublesome knee. He returned in 2019 and had been playing well for the team and avoiding trouble with injury so far. While he hadn’t scored many touchdowns so far this season, he was playing a big role for the team giving them a major boost in the backfield and helping out the offense.

If Johnson is gone for any length of time, it’s not as if the Lions have tons of depth behind him. Rookie Ty Johnson and pass catcher J.D. McKissic are the two best options on the team, meaning the Lions might have to consider something for the future. They can ill-afford not having a solid rusher for their offense.

The complicated nature of a knee injury for a player who’s had a history of such problems is something to remember, and will no doubt be something that the Lions think about when they choose with how to proceed.

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What’s Next

The Lions will have to be open to a move to add some type of running back, even though Matt Patricia said the team is prepared to approach things by committee. The risk is high with keeping Johnson and McKissic as neither are pure runners and are better at catching the ball. Johnson could help chip in, but the team will likely need some depth they can rely on given he is a rookie.

On the trading block are several players, not the least of which is Kenyan Drake. The Lions reportedly were already interested in Drake before Johnson’s injury, but now, might actually have to make a move. Another name to remember is Melvin Gordon, considering his situation in Los Angeles.

Drake has been a very productive runner in the NFL with the Dolphins, rushing for 1,358 yards and 9 touchdowns. He’s also gotten loose for 6 scores through the air as a receiver, and has 762 reception yards as a true dual threat player. Drake brings it in a variety of ways for his team and adds the element of speed and elusiveness out of the backfield.

It’s likely the Lions will consider a move given the relative inexperience of the players left on their roster, and that’s especially true now that Johnson is heading for injured reserve and has had surgery.

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