The Detroit Lions have been trending the wrong direction with injuries for the better part of a few months, but good news has come in the form of the health of Kerryon Johnson.
Recently removed from injured reserve and practicing, Johnson is looking like he could be on target to make a return by Week 16, and according to Matt Patricia, Johnson has been practicing well. That’s led to folks think Johnson might be able to come back before the end of the 2019 season
Speaking Friday, Johnson also detailed what it was like to experience another knee injury. Obviously, it wasn’t a great experience for the young back, who was looking to make a major mark in 2019 and looking primed to do so before injury struck.
The likelihood is that the Lions ease Johnson back into the mix when he returns and that he doesn’t see much game time at all, but the fact he has been able to rally in time to come back to practice late in the season is good news for the Lions. Detroit’s ground game needs a bit of a boost, and at the very least, the Lions will want to see that Johnson is good to go for 2020 by easing him back into the mix and getting him some meaningful game reps.
Kerryon Johnson Injury
Johnson went down with a knee injury against the Minnesota Vikings in October and was spotted wearing a knee brace on the sidelines the day of the game. He was called questionable, and didn’t return to the game.
The Monday after, nobody seemed quite sure how much time Johnson would miss, but the injury was called week to week. After the surgery decision, however, it meant that Johnson was definitively 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.
When Johnson has been gone, it’s not as if the Lions have had tons of depth behind him. Rookie Ty Johnson and pass catcher J.D. McKissic were the two best options on the team in the moment, and the Lions blew through other options like Paul Perkins and Tra Carson. Otherwise, the squad struggled with the players they found to fill in. Eventually, they were able to find a potential hidden gem in Bo Scarbrough to tote the rock, and he’s done so effectively with 236 yards in just three games. Now, however, Scarbrough is dinged up too.
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 with Johnson.
Lions Plan at Running Back
Now that Scarbrough has entered the fray, the Lions likely will not feel as if they are under any immediate pressure to rush Johnson back on the field to game speed. That would be the smartest approach the team could make, because Scarbrough has ran the ball well and looked like an effective option for the team in the meantime. It’s possible the former collegiate rivals could form a solid tandem backfield in the Motor City in the future.
For now, though, the Lions must proceed with caution on Johnson. He’s an important piece of the puzzle, and no matter how healthy he may be late in the season, the team still has to be sure he is completely right before rushing a return.
The Lions are fighting through a lost season, and may have found a solid second option at running back in Scarbrough. Getting him reps while working Johnson back to health might be the best possible outcome for a team playing out the string in a lost season.
Expect to see Johnson back by perhaps next week.
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