Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson has first practice after knee surgery, could return vs. Denver

Carlos Monarrez
Detroit Free Press
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Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since he was placed on injured reserve Oct. 22 following surgery on his right knee.

Johnson could be available to return to action as soon as the second-to-last game of the season on Dec. 22 at Denver.

The Lions are 3-8-1 and have been eliminated from playoff contention. But coach Matt Patricia said game experience could be valuable for a second-year player like Johnson.

Lions running back Kerryon Johnson (33) runs the ball against the Chiefs during the third quarter at Ford Field.

“I mean, I think it’s always important to play football and practice football, and do everything you can as much as possible, especially if you’re a young player and especially if you’re a player that’s missed some time,” he said. “I think it’s great to get back out there and have that opportunity to get back to work while we have them because there is a lot of time during the season where we don’t.

“So we have a great opportunity in front of us to get better at football, and certainly from Kerryon’s standpoint, that would be great for him to do that. We’ll take full advantage of that as much as we can.”

Last season, Johnson missed six games with a left knee injury. If he does return, he could prove a valuable complement to Bo Scarbrough’s power-running style.

“You know, look, I think in the run game and in the backfield, you need to have talented players back there, and it’s more than just kind of one guy for the job,” Patricia said. “I think a lot of teams, and certainly us, we’ll use multiple backs, we’ve used multiple backs and I think that’s a good thing to have. It puts a lot of pressure on the defense to really try to understand who’s in the game from that standpoint. We always try to have as many good football players as we can.”

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