Lions running back Ameer Abdullah, who spent the majority of the season on the sidelines with torn ligaments in his foot, expects to be ready to go by the time the team takes the field in the coming spring.
Abdullah said he expects to be full go by the start of spring ball
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 9, 2017
An important element in the team’s running game, Abdullah’s speed was desperately missed this season. In the two games he did play in this season, he carried the ball 18 times for a total of 101 yards. He also added five catches for 57 yards.
After being selected by the Lions with the 54th overall pick in the 2015 draft, Abdullah busted onto the scene with 597 rushing yards and two touchdowns in his rookie season with Detroit. He also had 25 catches for 183 yards and another touchdown that season.
After going down with the injury this year, the Lions split the responsibility in the run game between Theo Riddick and rookie Dwayne Washington. Washington had some good moments in his first pro season, finishing the year with 90 carries for 265 yards while finding the end zone only once. Riddick added a completely different perspective to the Lions offense, as one of the best pass-catching running backs in the league. He finished the year with 92 carries and 357 yards with a touchdown, as well as 53 catches for 371 yards and five touchdowns, but went down with a wrist injury of his own late in the season.
The Lions could have brought Abdullah back late in the season as their designated player to return from injured reserve, but he had not come far enough in his recovery for that to be a realistic possibility.
While the news on Abdullah is good to hear, it also raises some questions. A big question revolves around undrafted free agent Zach Zenner, who gave the Lions running game some unexpected life in the last couple weeks of the season. With Abdullah, Riddick, and Washington all in the fold for next season, one has to wonder what the future holds for Zenner.