ALLEN PARK — Kerryon Johnson’s standout rookie season remains on hold.
The Detroit Lions running back has missed another full week of practice and is expected to be scratched for Sunday’s game in Arizona when the club issues its game designations later today. Johnson is battling a knee injury and has already missed two games, sidelining what had been an outstanding rookie season.
Johnson rushed for 101 yards in Week 3 against the Patriots, the first time a Lions player hit triple digits since 2013. That was a 70-game drought, just one game off the league record.
A week later, Johnson earned his first start. And through 10 games, he ran for 641 yards, making him Detroit’s most productive back since Joique Bell in 2014. He’s averaged 5.4 yards per carry, which still ranks fourth in the league.
But then he suffered a knee injury in a Week 11 win against the Panthers, and hasn’t played since. There’s been external speculation over whether Detroit, buried in the NFC North cellar at 4-8, should just shut him down until next season. But coach Matt Patricia says Johnson is still working to return to the field in 2018.
After Sunday’s game in Arizona, the Lions close out the season in Buffalo, back home against Minnesota and then in Green Bay against the Packers.
“He’s working really hard to try to do everything he can to get himself back out there,” Patricia said.
Everyone else was accounted for at practice Friday, although defensive lineman Kerry Hyder headed inside with a trainer early on. It appeared he may have been nauseous.