Coming into this season, many wondered when running back Kevin Jones would see the field after he suffered a Lisfranc injury last year against the Cardinals. The injury came later in the year and was serious enough to require up to a year recovery time for some people. Luckily with Jones, he worked his way back by Week 3 against the Eagles, and was the full-time starter again soon after. It was remarkable that Jones was able to return as quickly as he did, but now it looks as though he will be spending this coming offseason rehabbing another injury.
Right before the end of the 1st half against Kansas City this past Sunday, Jones suffered an injury and never returned. The reason for that is that the injury is pretty serious, and he will be out for quite a while.
Team physicians will wait until swelling subsides, Marinelli said, before making a determination on whether surgery is needed to repair the ligament. "We'll see how it comes out later this week," Marinelli said.
But it is rare that an ACL injury does not require surgery. And if Jones goes under the knife, he faces a rehabilitation stint of 8-10 months.
Assuming Jones does have surgery, he would likely miss all of training camp and would hopefully be back in time for the start of the 2008 season. Obviously he could return earlier or later than scheduled, but for now I would put the '08 season down as the hopeful date of return.
What does this mean for the Lions in the short-run? For starters, we'll get to see Tatum Bell play for a change. Since Jones returned as the starter following the Eagles game, I don't think Bell has even been active once since he only plays running back. Instead of Bell, we have seen T.J. Duckett and Aveion Cason back up Jones, and both have played pretty well.
Since Bell will likely get playing time on Sunday, you better not miss a single carry because this will be your last chance to watch him in a Lions uniform. Considering the Lions haven't been too happy with Bell and he obviously hasn't been happy at all with the Lions, this will be his final game with Detroit as he becomes a free agent after this season. There is no doubt in my mind that he will find a new team, as this really will be a mutual break up.
In the long run, the Lions will have to do two things. The first is hope that Jones heals in time for next season so they aren't forced to kickoff the new year without him. And second, the Lions will have to add some depth just in case. Since the initial date of return will likely be right around the final round of cuts, the Lions will have a chance to evaluate the situation to see whether or not added depth is needed, but I still expect to see a running back or two brought in this offseason via free agency or one of the later rounds of the draft. Don't forget that Brian Calhoun will be back after he suffered a season-ending injury for the second straight year earlier this season, but he is pretty much the opposite of dependable.
To Kevin Jones: Get better. All Lions fans hope to see you back on the field in time for the start of the 2008 season. Although this team's running game is beyond inconsistent, without you, it is simply laughable. Get well soon, Kevin.