Jones injured his right knee when the Lions lost to the Bears in Chicago on Nov. 11 and will miss his second straight game. Johnson injured his left knee against Carolina on Sunday, and the rookie, who is Detroit’s leading rusher, will miss the first game of his career.
Jones has 35 catches for 508 yards and five touchdowns this year. The Lions will likely look to TJ Jones and Andy Jones on the outside and Bruce Ellington in the slot to replace Jones opposite top receiver Kenny Golladay.
Johnson has rushed 118 times for 641 yards and three touchdowns to go with 32 catches for 213 yards this season. Detroit will use a three-back committee of LeGarrette Blount, Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner against Chicago.
“We’ll just try to get as many reps or whatever situations come up with the guys and see how they handle them,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said of his running backs. “For us it’s just, again, I would tend to lean more towards what everybody does well and hopefully we can just go out and execute. I think those guys do have pretty good skill sets, I would say it’s more than probably just linear.
“I think there’s quite a few things in there that they can do well and in the game and different facets. So, we’re just going to have to do a good job of trying to come up with those situations.”
The short week also leaves the Lions with seven players questionable — six of them key offensive or defensive contributors, including Ellington (back), tight end Michael Roberts (shoulder), defensive linemen Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder), Damon “Snacks” Harrison (shoulder) and A’Shawn Robinson (ankle) and cornerback Darius Slay (knee).
Detroit did not practice Monday and held walk-throughs on Tuesday and Wednesday to get ready for the Bears with the quick turnaround.