Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson (ankle) sustained an ankle injury during the team's Week 9 matchup with the Green Bay Packers, and as a result he is expected to miss at least one week of action.
Johnson suffered the injury to his right ankle after receiving a pass from quarterback Damon Huard and getting tackled by Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk with more than eight minutes left in the fourth quarter. Johnson twisted awkwardly on the play with the ankle getting trapped under the body of Hawk, and he ofof and didn't put any weight on the leg when he was being assisted off the field. Running back Priest Holmes entered the game in Johnson's absence.
Johnson had combined for 95 total yards prior to the injury, adding both a rushing and receiving touchdown. Despite finding the end zone twice, Johnson found it difficult to run against the Packers, carrying the ball 19 times for 53 yards (2.8 yards per carry). Holmes was even less successful when running the ball, managing just 2.7 yards per carry on three carries. Holmes added a two-point conversion and one reception for eight yards.
Johnson's injury, if serious, comes at a bad time for the ultimate workhorse back. He had put together solid back-to-back performances before entering this week's game, rushing for more than 100 yards and adding a score in each. In all, Johnson scored four touchdowns over his last three games after a slow start kept him out of the end zone in his first five games.
With Johnson set to miss at least a week and possibly more, Holmes will likely be looked at as the starting running back. It is unclear how effective Holmes could be in the starting role after just returning to the game following almost two years away from the game due to injury. The Chiefs may look to split carries among Holmes and running back Kolby Smith, who has only two touches (and zero carries) all season, both coming in Week 5 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Holmes was one of the most explosive backs in the league before suffering the head and neck injury that had sidelined him since 2005. In the 2003 season, he broke former St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk's NFL record for total touchdowns in a season with 27. Holmes is the current franchise leader in career rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns.
Fantasy owners of Johnson should race out and grab Holmes as insurance in case he isn't able to go in the upcoming weeks. Holmes has had success in this style of offense and has always had a nose for the end zone. He could see a significant amount of carries, especially in the red zone and in goal line situations. It is unlikely that Holmes still has the legs to handle the 20 to 30 carries that the offense is accustomed to with Johnson in the backfield, which means Smith should see some work. Therefore if Holmes is already taken off waivers, Smith could be an option as well as the backup to Holmes.
About Richard Garcia
Garcia served as a managing editor for KFFL. Prior to his time with KFFL, Richard worked in managerial roles with both Frito-Lay Inc. and UPS. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in public relations from California State Polytechnic University-Pomona and fulfilled his internship requirements with the Los Angeles Kings Hockey organization in 2001.
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