Lions running back Kerryon Johnson has been designated to return from injured reserve, head coach Matt Patricia announced on Wednesday. Johnson will be eligible to play in Week 16 against the Broncos, though it’s not guaranteed that he’ll be activated.
The Lions are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs at 3-8-1, so the decision to play Johnson won’t be an easy one to make. The running back would surely like to see his first action since the sixth game of the season, but the Lions won’t want to risk further injury to one of their top skill players.
If nothing else, the move allows Johnson to practice with the club, starting today. Johnson, 22, was averaging just 3.3 yards per carry prior to the injury, but impressed in a limited sample as a rookie. In 2018, Johnson finished with 641 rushing yards on 118 attempts, good for a 5.4 yards per carry average. And, in Week 3 of that season, he snapped the Lions’ streak of 70 games without a 100-yard rusher.
The Lions, without Johnson in the lineup, will finish the year against the Vikings, Bucs, Broncos, and Packers. If the season ended today, they’d own the No. 6 overall pick.
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