| Detroit Free Press
Can Detroit Lions get back to .500 at Carolina? Our guys break it down
Free Press sports writers Dave Birkett and Carlos Monarrez preview Sunday’s Detroit Lions game against the Carolina Panthers.
D’Andre Swift missed his second straight practice with a brain injury Friday and likely will not play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia stopped short of ruling out Swift during his pre-practice news conference but admitted the NFL’s concussion protocols make it unlikely Swift will see the field.
“It makes it difficult,” Patricia said. “We’ll kind of see what today, the rest of today looks like, and then obviously put all of that into play here when we put our injury report out. But it is difficult.”
Patricia declined to provide a timetable on when or how Swift’s injury occurred, or even say whether it was football-related.
Swift was a full participant in practice Wednesday and spoke with reporters by video conference after the workout. But he was not on the field for the start of practice early Thursday afternoon.
Players in concussion protocol are excused from their media obligations for the week.
“It was just something that came up and we wanted to make sure that we were doing our due diligence there to make sure he was OK and that was just how they saw it,” Patricia said. “We’ll be careful and make sure that he’s out there as soon as he can based on the protocols. The protocols are what they are it. It’s kind of, timeline is pretty tight with all that.”
The NFL’s concussion protocol is a five-step process that players must progress through before they can return to game action.
Once concussion symptoms have subsided, players are allowed to take part in light aerobic exercise, then gradually introduce strength training and non-contact football-related activities.
Once team physicians clear a player for contact, the player must be cleared by an independent neurologist to play in a game.
Swift had a season-high 149 yards from scrimmage in last week’s win over Washington, when he made the first start of his career.
Both Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson should see time in Swift’s absence, and Jonathan Williams will serve as the No. 3 back.
“We’ll just keep rolling with those guys,” Patricia said. “If they’re out there and if Swift’s 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.”
Wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola missed practice Friday with hip injuries, which could leave the Lions (4-5) without two of their top receivers on Sunday.
Golladay, who has missed the last two games, was a limited participant in practice Wednesday and was on the field going through drills at the start of practice Thursday, according to a pool report, but was listed as a non-participant for the day.
Asked if Golladay suffered a setback, Patricia said, “We’re trying to be smart with everybody here, knowing that we have two games really close together back-to-back. 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.”
The Lions play two games in five days, Sunday against the Panthers and on Thanksgiving against the Houston Texans.
Matthew Stafford took first-team reps during practice Friday and is in line to start despite the thumb injury he suffered against Washington.
Contact Dave Birkett at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.