Detroit Lions reinforcing depleted backfield with practice squad promotion

Detroit News

Allen Park — The Detroit Lions made a move on Tuesday to address one of the team’s injury issues, promoting running back Zonovan Knight off the practice squad to the active roster.

Knight, who went undrafted out of North Carolina State a year ago, appeared in seven games for the New York Jets as a rookie, making four starts. The 5-foot-11, 210-pounder ran for 300 yards and a touchdown on 85 carries and added 13 receptions for another 100 yards.

Knight will help the Lions bridge the gap while starter David Montgomery recovers from a thigh injury suffered in the second half of last Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. Coach Dan Campbell said the team will take a committee approach if Montgomery can’t go this week, with rookie Jahmyr Gibbs and veteran Craig Reynolds in line to lead that rotation.

Montgomery is one of several Lions players who are currently dealing with injury. In the past few days, the Lions have lost edge rushers James Houston (fibula) and Josh Paschal (knee), as well as safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson (pec) to long-term injuries.

Campbell, joining 97.1 “The Ticket” on Tuesday morning, confirmed Gardner-Johnson’s injury, which was first reported the previous evening. The coach also opened the door for the defensive back to return later this year.

“I hate it for him,” Campbell said. “That’s tough, but we’ll see where this thing goes. There’s a chance he comes back this season.”

The Lions should be OK with the team’s depth at edge rusher and safety to withstand those hits, but will probably need some extra insurance along the offensive line for Sunday’s matchup with Atlanta. Guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai is expected to miss this week and potentially more because of a knee injury he suffered against Seattle. Additionally, Campbell wasn’t optimistic about Taylor Decker’s availability for Sunday after the starting left tackle missed last week because of an ankle injury.

If Decker and Vaitai remain on the shelf, the Lions would be thin at tackle, with backup Matt Nelson moved into the starting lineup and rookie Colby Sorsdal the only option off the bench. The team has four offensive linemen on the practice squad — Kayode Awoiska, Michael Niese, Max Pircher and Connor Galvin — who could help restore some depth up front.

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter/X: @Justin_Rogers

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