By Will Brinson
The Lions are going to need everything in their arsenal to take on the Saints in the NFC wild-card round in New Orleans on Saturday, so it's not good news to hear that running back Kevin Smith suffered an injury when colliding with tight end Tony Scheffler during Wednesday's practice.
That's according to our Lions Rapid Reporter John Kreger, who reports that Smith was "helped from the field at the conclusion" of practice on Wednesday following the collision.
Scheffler "did not appear to be injured" according to Kreger, which is good news obviously. But it may not outweigh the nightmare of losing Smith for the game against the Saints.
As you know, Detroit's run game is virtually non-existent. They rank 29th in the NFL with just 95.2 yards per game and have attempted just 356 rushes this season, the second-lowest total in the league.
Smith was signed off the street prior to the Lions matchup against the Bears in Week 10, and exploded on the scene against the Panthers the following week. Smith hasn't taken the world by storm or anything, but he averaged 4.9 yards per carry this season, piling up 356 rushing yards on 72 attempts. Additionally, he caught 22 balls for 179 yards and found the end zone a total of seven times.
He's had a tremendously positive impact on the Lions offense as a whole and as Kreger notes, his absence could severely complicate things for Detroit, who might have to give up on running the ball at all without Smith healthy enough to play.
Perhaps most devastating? The fact that Smith's second-most productive game of this season came in Week 13 when the Lions played the Saints the first time. Smith rushed for just 34 yards, but he averaged 5.7 yards a carry, and he also caught six passes for 46 yards and a touchdown.
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