Detroit — Lions rookie running back Kerryon Johnson suffered a left knee injury during the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers and did not return.
Coach Matt Patricia had little to offer in the way of an update after the game.
“Immediately after a game, you never really know,” Patricia said. “Emotions, adrenaline and the body is revving a high level, so you really got to — obviously if there’s something that’s really serious, you make sure they’re OK — but other than that, you just gotta wait, which is hard. We’ve got to wait for the doctors, all the appropriate people that understand that stuff more than I do give me the information on that.”
Johnson was having one of the best games of his young Lions career when he reversed field on a run and was tackled by a pair of Panther defenders.
Johnson showed immediate discomfort when getting to his feet, and after a quick evaluation at the training table, where he exhibited discomfort during the examination, he was taken to the locker room.
“You could see him earlier in the game, showing some visible signs of distress,” Fox sideline reporter Jennifer Hale said during the broadcast. “I can tell you, as he left the field and got to the privacy of the tunnel, it looks like he was tearing up, obviously in a lot of pain.”
Former Los Angeles Chargers team doctor David Chao, who provides injury assessments from broadcast video via social video, speculated with a degree of uncertainty that Johnson may have torn an ACL.
The Lions defeated the Panthers, 20-19, to improve their record to 4-6. Johnson finished his day with 87 yards on 15 carries with one touchdown, pushing his season rushing total to 641 yards with three rushing touchdowns.
“He’s obviously a great runner when you hand it to him,” Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “He does a nice job out of the backfield when you throw it to him — had a nice play on a screen here today. He’s got some big-play ability, obviously. You see it. He’s got some 20-plus runs.
“I’ve got the best view in the house, right behind him sometimes, splits a guy, splits a seam and he’s out. He’s done a nice job for us and it was more of the same today.”
Stafford didn’t care to speculate on how the Lions would overcome the potential loss of Johnson, but Patricia said the team wouldn't have any other option than to move forward.
“You just have to just keep going,” Patricia said. “You don’t really have any other choices. We can’t do anything about it. Whatever it is, we’ll figure it out.”