| 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.
The Detroit Lions will not have rookie running back D’Andre Swift for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers because of the concussion symptoms he presented this week.
Lions running backs coach Kyle Caskey confirmed after practice Friday that Swift will not play against the Panthers.
The Lions will use some combination of Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson in his place, with Jonathan Williams playing as the No. 3 back.
“We’ve (relied on) with Adrian for a lot of this season, but Kerryon obviously is playing like a fresh Kerryon right now, so we’re going to allow him to get in there and do his thing as well,” Caskey said. “We’ll find how the rotation goes as we get into the game. I mean, it’s not a bad problem to have a former league MVP and another second- round pick and all that coming back in. So yeah, we’re disappointed we’re not going to have Swift, but we’ll be fine in the running back room.”
Neither Caskey nor Lions coach Matt Patricia would provide a timetable on how or when Swift’s brain 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.
It is unclear if he will be available for next week’s Thanksgiving game against the Houston Texans.
“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.”
Matthew Stafford took first-team reps during practice Friday and is in line to start despite the thumb injury he suffered against Washington.