ALLEN PARK — Kerryon Johnson hasn’t shut it down just yet.
The Detroit Lions running back hasn’t played the last two weeks because of a knee injury. And with the club now mathematically eliminated from winning the division, there has been some talk about whether the rookie sensation should even return this year at all.
So far, though, it seems the Lions are still trying to get Johnson back on the field this season. They return to action next Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
“He’s working really hard to try to do everything he can to get himself back out there,” coach Matt Patricia said. “We’ll see how it goes through the course of the week.”
Johnson was the SEC player of the year last season at Auburn, and led that conference in rushing. Lions GM Bob Quinn loved him, too, and traded up to take him in the second round of the draft.
And Johnson wasted no time showing why he was worth it.
In Week 3, he trashed New England for 101 yards on just 16 carries. That was the first time a Lions player had rushed for triple-digits since Reggie Bush on Thanksgiving in 2013.
Johnson earned his first start the following week, and hasn’t looked back since. He has 118 carries for 641 yards, which already makes him Detroit’s leading rusher since Joique Bell had 860 yards in 2014. And Johnson has done it in just 10 games.
He’s averaged 5.4 yards per carry this year, which ranks second among rookies and fourth overall.
LeGarrette Blount has started the last two games for him, rushing 35 times for 149 yards. Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner are also on the roster.