Johnson was one of the more dynamic rookie backs in the league this season. The 21-year-old gained 641 yards on 118 carries in 10 games. He added three touchdowns as the key part of the Lions' rushing attack.
Johnson broke the Lions' 70-game 100-yard rushing drought in Week 3 by gaining 101 yards in a 26-10 win over New England and then had a 158-yard performance against Miami in Week 7. He was on his way to another potential 100-yard game against Carolina in Week 11 before injuring his knee with 87 yards.
He didn't play again this season after that performance, though the Lions waited almost five weeks -- and until they were out of the playoff picture -- to place Johnson on injured reserve.
"We're just day-to-day to see how they feel," Lions coach Matt Patricia said when asked about Johnson earlier this month. "And as soon as there's a situation, if they feel they can play and they can help us win in that situation, then we go from there."
Patricia said Tuesday, after his team was eliminated from playoff contention with a 14-13 loss to Buffalo on Sunday, that his approach to handling injured players and injured reserve wouldn't change.
In addition to his running, Johnson accrued 32 receptions for 213 yards. He appeared to be the type of three-down back the Lions have lacked since Reggie Bush in 2013.
With Johnson done for the season, the Lions will continue to rely on a combination of Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner and LeGarrette Blount. The team is ranked No. 24 in rushing yards per game (103.1) and yards per attempt (4.21).