By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Head coach Jim Schwartz said there was encouraging news after many tests on the left knee of running back Reggie Bush, whose presence or lack thereof may decide the fate of the Detroit Lions this season.
“He’s going to be sore, but he doesn’t have anything that’s long-term,” Schwartz said – then later clarified, “I didn’t necessarily classify it as short-term. It’s just not long term, so by default, I guess that’s short-term? I guess it could be medium-term. I don’t know. It’s too hard to speculate on injuries, and that’s why I usually don’t because I don’t like putting any kind of tag on things because you never know how people are going to react to anything.”
Despite the presence of superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson, the Lions desperately need Bush to heal quickly. In Sunday’s game, Detroit kept pace with Arizona fairly well in the first half, but when Bush took a helmet to a knee after a big run, he only played briefly afterward, later fumbling and then leaving the game for good.
With Bush out of the game, the Lions faltered.
“He’s certainly an important part of our offense,” Schwartz said. “Our offense was moving very well in the first half. We were converting third downs, we were converting about 50 percent of our third downs in the first half. Second half, I don’t think we converted one, so obviously [Bush] meant a lot. Calvin was making a lot more plays in the first half because of the dynamic with Reggie. When he went out of the game, we weren’t really able to maintain that. I can’t remember what [quarterback Matthew Stafford’s] completion percentage was in the first half, but I think it was significantly higher in the first half than it was in the second half.”
Without Bush, the offense would again be one-dimensional, living and dying with Johnson, who can only do so much when constantly double-teamed as he often has been in the past. While Schwartz did not admit to be concerned about relying too heavily on Bush for the offense’s success, he did concede that Bush’s role is significant.
“There’s a reason that we went and got him,” Schwartz said with something of a laugh. “That’s because that guy’s a very important guy in our offense. I think there’s probably a lot of teams that if they lost that guy they’d say they struggled to move the ball, they struggled to do that.”
Bush also dealt with injuries sustained in the Lions’ season opener, when he dislocated his thumb and pulled his groin in the first quarter. Schwartz seemed unconcerned with those issues, though.
“He was playing with all those things when he was making those plays earlier in the game,” Schwartz said. “Every player’s got things that nag them or things that they’re not quite 100 percent, but the knee was the concern in this game.”
Bush has a lengthy history of injuries but played the entire season in 2012 and all but one game in 2011. Schwartz mentioned those years and added that none of Bush’s current ailments are related to his earlier injuries, such as a torn PCL in 2007 and a broken leg in 2010.