Lions rule out starters Swift, Golladay, Amendola; Stafford questionable
If the Detroit Lions are going to climb back to .500 this weekend in Carolina, they're going to have to do it without three key pieces of their offense. The team officially ruled out running back D'Andre Swift, as well as wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola on Friday.
Both Swift and Golladay practiced earlier in the week, before the rookie running back surprisingly popped up on Thursday's injury report with a concussion. Lions coach Matt Patricia confirmed Friday morning that the timeline for Swift to be cleared for Sunday was going to be difficult.
Patricia respectfully declined to offer any specifics on when the injury occurred, other than dismissing the hypothetical that the rookie had been involved in a car accident.
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"Well, I think that's definitely part of the unknown of how the brain and how concussions and how those things kinda appear," Patricia said. "That's why we take 'em really serious. ... I mean, with that stuff, there's such an unknown there. We just treat the symptoms when they come up."
The timing is unfortunate for Swift, who is coming off his first start and the best performance of his debut season. With him sidelined against the Panthers, the Lions will turn to their backfield depth, headed by Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson.
"We have great players in that position and confidence in all those guys," Patricia said. "With Adrian, with Kerryon and (Jonathan Williams), we're good. We'll just keep rolling with those guys, too, if they're out there. And if Swift is out there, great. I think that's really just part of the mentality of making sure you have enough depth at the running back position that you feel comfortable with."
As for Golladay, he'll be missing his third consecutive game with a hip injury. He was a limited participant Wednesday, but didn't practice Thursday or Friday.
"I think obviously, we’re trying to be smart with everybody here, knowing that we have two games really close together back-to-back," Patricia said, referencing next week's Thanksgiving game. "I think we mention all the time maybe that in those situations, guys that are just coming back to practice, we try to be smart with them as we go through the week. If we push them one day, then what does the next day look like, and just try to evaluate in a day-by-day situation from that standpoint."
A year after leading the league in touchdown catches, Golladay has only played in five games this season, missing the first two with a hamstring strain.
With Golladay sidelined much of the year, Amendola has emerged as Detroit's leading receiver, catching 28 passes for a team-high 411 yards. He was forced to exit last week's game against Washington with a hip injury and never saw the practice field this week.
Needing depth at the position, the Lions could look to elevate veteran Mohamed Sanu off the practice squad over the weekend.
There is good news on Detroit's injury front as quarterback Matthew Stafford is expected to play on Sunday, despite reportedly dealing with a partially torn thumb ligament on his throwing hand. He's officially listed as questionable.
Also questionable for the Lions are defensive linemen Austin Bryant (thigh) and Da'Shawn Hand (groin), linebacker Jarrad Davis (knee), safety Will Harris (groin) and offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai (foot).
For the Panthers, the team has listed seven players as questionable, including quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He is nursing a knee injury. On Friday, coach Matt Rhule called it a true game-time decision.