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Lions' Kerryon Johnson hopes to return vs. Broncos

Six different Lions running backs have logged starts this season for the Honolulu Blue-clad team from Detroit, including Slippery Rock's own undrafted rookie Wes Hills in Week 15.

Do you know what happens when you Google "Wes Hills"? It asks you: Did you mean 'West Hills'? (Come on Google-bot, respect the Wes.)

This is to say, it's been carnage in Detroit's backfield since Kerryon Johnson went down in Week 7.

Johnson, however, could return for this week's game against the Denver Broncos.

"I hope to," Johnson said after practice on Thursday, via Kyle Meinke of MLive. "I don't make those decisions, but if I'm called upon, I'll be ready. And if I'm not, I'll be ready to cheer 'em on. But I feel good, I feel like I can (play) if I need to, but like I said, that decision is way above us, so we'll wait and see."

Johnson has been on IR since tearing the meniscus in his right knee in Week 7. After practicing for three weeks, he's eligible to return from IR. Reports out of Detroit indicate the second-year back has looked good during practice.

Whether the Lions make the move to bring Johnson off IR remains to be seen. On the one hand, for a young player, getting game reps can help growth for the future and, as evidenced by the lead of this story, Detroit could use the help. On the other hand, why bring a running back, who has twice injured his knee in his first two seasons, back in a three-win campaign with nothing to play for?

Johnson noted it's not his call if he returns or not, but he'd like to see the field before the season is out.

"I feel good, man," Johnson said. "I've been practicing for, what? Three weeks now, I guess? It's been fine. Just trying to get back to my old self, just working, being out there having something to do instead of sitting around watching everybody else do stuff. It's very exciting, so I've been happy."

If Johnson returns, he could share a backfield with power back Bo Scarbrough, who missed last week's game with a rib injury. Scarbrough was listed as limited in practice the past two days.

Even if he returns for the final two games, Johnson will have played only 18 total contests over his first two seasons. The 22-year-old back looks dynamite at times, but the durability issues suggest the Lions need to find a reliable complementary option in the offseason after those efforts from this past spring failed.

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