Though the Detroit Lions have yet to confirm anything, the news keeps getting better and better for rookie running back Kerryon Johnson. After NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport suggested Johnson avoided an ACL tear in Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, ProFootballTalk is corroborating that story as on Monday afternoon:
Lions RB Kerryon Johnson is week to week with a sprained knee per source.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) November 19, 2018
ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds even more good news. Johnson won’t require surgery:
Lions’ RB Kerryon Johnson sprained his knee, doesn’t need surgery and will be week to week, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 19, 2018
Johnson went down in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the Panthers after coming up gingerly. After walking around on it for several minutes, Johnson headed into the locker room and did not return.
Head coach Matt Patricia did not offer an update after the game.
“I don’t have any injury updates on him right now,” Patricia said. “So, we’ll see. He’s getting checked out by the doctors and we’ll handle that.”
While it’ll be tough in the short-term for the Lions, who have to work on a short week to get ready for the Chicago Bears on Thursday, the avoidance of a long-term injury for Johnson is huge for Detroit. The Lions may not have much of a chance at making noise in 2018, but this means there’s no concern about Johnson entering the 2019 season less than 100 percent.
In his rookie season, Johnson ranks ninth in the NFL in rushing yards (641) and sixth in yards per carry (5.4). The Lions’ primary backup runner, LeGarrette Blount, is averaging just 2.3 yards per carry and has only 16 rushing yards in his last 21 carries.
Hopefully the Lions allow Kerryon to get healthy before rushing him back, and we can see more of that rookie potential before the season is over.