Lions' Kerryon Johnson's Knee Injury Reportedly a Sprain, Avoided ACL Tear

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2018

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 23: Kerryon Johnson #33 of the Detroit Lions runs the ball in the second half against the New England Patriots at Ford Field on September 23, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson suffered a knee injury in Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers, and the early prognosis is relatively positive.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the team believes the injury is just a sprain and not a torn ACL, although he will have an MRI Monday.

Johnson had 87 rushing yards and a touchdown before coming out in the second half.

The 21-year-old joined the Lions as a second-round pick out of Auburn, and the team's willingness to spend a high selection on him signaled he would be installed as the team's featured rusher.  

"Kerryon is a good size back...we classified him as a slashing style runner that can do a lot in the running game," general manager Bob Quinn told NFL Network's Good Morning Football. "Really underutilized in the passing game [at Auburn], we thought, so we think he has great upside there as well." 

The move was also an indication the Lions weren't worried about Johnson's injury history at Auburn, which included hamstring, ankle, rib and shoulder ailments. 

Since arriving in the Motor City, Johnson has thrived to the tune of 118 carries for 641 yards and three touchdowns as well as 32 receptions for 213 yards and one score.

In the event he spends an extended stay on the shelf, short-yardage hammer LeGarrette Blount and pass-catching specialist Theo Riddick should pick up the bulk of the snaps.