The bad injury news keeps coming for the Detroit Lions. On a day in which captain and safety Tracy Walker suffered a torn Achilles, running back D’Andre Swift also suffered a sprained shoulder, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The good news is that Swift’s shoulder is not expected to require surgery. The bad news is that Pelissero says Swift “could miss some time.” On top of that, Swift told MLive’s Kyle Meinke that the ankle injury he’s been nursing since Week 1 was reaggravated against the Vikings.
Through three games, Swift has been one of the Lions’ best players, rushing for 231 yards (eighth in NFL) at a ridiculous 8.6 yards per carry (first). He’s also added an additional 77 yards and a touchdown in the receiving game—while dealing with that ankle injury in the past two weeks.
Swift’s NFL career has been plagued with injury after injury, but this year the Lions’ third-year running back went into the season believing he had built up his body to withstand the physical punishment that comes with the job of an NFL back. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it out of the opening month of the season without getting dinged up pretty badly.
The Lions have limited Swift’s role in the past two weeks to try and manage his ankle injury, giving the majority of carries to Jamaal Williams—the team’s more physical, between-the-tackles runner. Williams has done well with the opportunity, rushing for 140 yards (4.4 YPC) and two touchdowns in the past two games.
But Williams doesn’t give the Lions the explosive play potential that Swift does. Through three games, Swift had four plays that earned at least 20 yards, including two for 50 yards each. Williams’ longest play from scrimmage since landing in Detroit last year is a single 20-yard rush.
If Swift misses time, the Lions will have to decide which back will complement Williams’ rushing style. In the past two weeks, it has been Craig Reynolds, but the 26-year-old back has managed just 29 rushing yards on nine carries. Detroit could also choose to include Justin Jackson more on offense, as the offseason addition has played solely on special teams thus far. Last year’s seventh-round pick Jermar Jefferson remains on the practice squad but could be called up if Detroit opts to go in that direction.