D’Andre Swift will not have any restrictions on playing time in Sunday’s season opener against the San Francisco 49ers despite missing the entire preseason with a groin injury, Detroit Lions running backs coach Duce Staley said Thursday.
Asked before practice if Swift will be on a snap count in his first live action since January, Staley joked, “I’m very bad at counting reps.”
“If he’s out there being productive, ‘What number is it Duce?’ ‘Three.’ It could be play 49,” Staley said. “I don’t know how to take (a productive running back) off. I get caught up in the game, he’s going to get caught up in the game and every good player, every good running back that I know, anyway, once you start feeling it, you don’t want to pull him off. We can count the reps Monday.”
Swift sat out all three games this preseason and practiced sporadically for most of August because of a groin injury that flared up at the start of training camp.
Lions coach Dan Campbell said Tuesday that Swift “should be ready to go” for Week, and the second-year back practiced in full Thursday.
The Lions are counting on Swift to be the lead back in a rotation that will include Jamaal Williams.
As a rookie, Swift finished second on the team in rushing and third in receptions. He had 521 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, and caught 46 passes for 357 yards and two scores while missing three games with migraine headaches.
Staley said earlier this year Swift has enough “special traits” to be a 25-touch per game back. On Thursday, he said he won’t be beholden to getting Swift a prescribed number of touches per game.
“I think Swift has been looking good in practice, he’s been doing good,” Staley said. “Happy to get him back out there to see that juice, to see that energy that he’s been showing the last couple days. So we’ll see where we’ll go from there. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and just go from there.”
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