As it turns out, Lions RB Kevin Smith separated his left shoulder Sept. 27 against Washington -- an injury severe enough that it will require offseason surgery -- but continued playing.
Lions general manager Martin Mayhew revealed that information during a meeting Thursday with Detroit-area reporters, according to John Niyo of the Detroit News. Smith gained 101 yards against the Redskins but didn’t have more than 75 yards in a game after that before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
The Lions almost certainly will need to pursue a running back this offseason, but their evaluation of Smith will be heavily influenced by the shoulder injury.
“Kevin didn't have a great year, but Kevin's injury in the third game against Washington, we've had guys go on IR with that.” Mayhew said. “...We've had guys say, ‘I need to get this thing fixed.’ But he didn’t do that, and I think it affected his play. ...
“Looking at Kevin, I see a guy that started slow, had a good game [against Washington] and got injured, and then had an up-and-down season when he was playing hurt. I think a lot of times he had opportunities to attack a defender and he didn't, so the question in my mind is the reason why. I don't know the answer for that.”