The Lions drafted running back D’Andre Swift in the second round out of Georgia this offseason with the idea of pairing him with third-year back Kerryon Johnson to form a nice one-two punch in the backfield.
Swift was playing well at the opening of training camp practice, especially in the passing game. His ability to create space, catch the football and be elusive in the open field was noticeable early on in camp.
But an undisclosed injury shut down Swift about a week ago, and he has yet to return to practice. There doesn't seem to be any major concern at this point that Swift won't be ready for the regular season in a couple weeks, but this is important time the rookie is missing.
Rookies have already been scrambling a bit this training camp because there was no rookie minicamp, on-field offseason training program, OTA practices or summer minicamp. Everything has been shortened for them, and any time missed from practice is significant, especially a week's worth of work.
Could this time missed affect how much the Lions are able to use Swift early in the season?
"I think that in general with rookies with a normal season, where we have the spring and we have the preseason when we get to the regular season, things happen a lot quicker, and they're a little bit more complex than what we've seen," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said Friday, when asked about Swift.
"So we're going to have to do a good job of making sure he's acclimated for when he is ready to go to be in situations that we think he can handle, and work him in that way until we build up a background, little bit of a repertoire for him where he knows what he's going to see in those certain situations."
Bo Scarbrough has been out nearly all of training camp, too, which has put a lot of the workload at running back on the shoulders of Johnson, second-year back Ty Johnson, newly acquired veteran Jonathan Williams, fifth-round pick Jason Huntley and second-year back Wes Hills. The Lions have been good about not putting too much on Kerryon's plate with Swift out, distributing the reps all around.
But with the regular season fast approaching, the Lions are hoping Swift can get back on the field quickly and get back up to speed before Chicago comes to Ford Field for the regular-season opener in just 16 days.