Kerryon Johnson is back!
The Detroit Lions announced that their starting running back has officially returned from injured reserve and is now part of their active 53-man roster. He is expected to play this Sunday in Detroit’s road finale against the Denver Broncos.
Johnson, Detroit’s 2018 second-round pick, saw his sophomore season come to an abrupt stop in Week 7 when he suffered a knee injury. The damage was bad enough to require surgery, and he was immediately placed on IR.
But now that it has been the required eight weeks spent on IR, Johnson is eligible to return to play and that’s exactly what he’s expected to do this week.
After a stellar rookie season in which he finished second in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt (5.4), Johnson struggled early in 2019. Before his Week 7 injury, he rushed for just 51.3 yards per game at 3.3 yards per carry.
However, the Lions’ rushing attack has looked somewhat improved over the last month of the season, with the offensive line blocking better to lead the way for the likes of Tra Carson, Bo Scarbrough and Wes Hills. The big question is can Johnson have the same kind of success that Scarbrough had in his four starts (301 rushing yards, 4.1 YPC)?
Some will question the Lions’ methods here, however. Given that Johnson is perceived to be an important piece to this offense’s future and his injury luck lately, the Lions could have certainly just shut him down for the last two games of the season to keep him safe and healthy.
However, from a fan perspective, at least it gives us something to watch after two months of hopeless football. Johnson was one of the most exciting Lions players last year, and if he can recapture even a portion of that success in the final two weeks of the season, it could provide some promise for his future.