By Ashley Dunkak
Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said there were many times last season that Calvin Johnson played on Sundays even when he did not practice during the week. Last week, though, was not one of those times, and this week may not be either.
Johnson, who missed Sunday’s game in Green Bay due to a knee injury, said he feels better but that he does not know whether he will be able to go for Sunday’s game in Cleveland. Schwartz said Johnson will likely be a game-time decision.
“It’s just going to depend on how he feels when we get to game day,” Schwartz said. “He’s no different than 45 or 46 other guys when it comes to that. When we make those determinations, we don’t make them on Wednesdays or Thursdays or even Fridays. He had a bunch of times last year where he didn’t practice at all and went out and played on Sunday, and last week he practiced on Friday and wasn’t able to go out there on Sunday. We’ll just take it as it comes.”
This week, Johnson has been on the practice field, though sparingly, and is listed as limited on the weekly injury report.
“It feels good to be out there, out there with my teammates,” Johnson said. “It’s always good just to be able to build that camaraderie.”
Although he is questionable for a second straight game, Johnson does not seem concerned about how the knee injury will continued to bother him and affect his ability throughout the rest of the season.
“I don’t really worry about things like that right now,” Johnson said. “That’s just the price of the game. That’s the results of playing the game.”
Without Johnson, the Lions offense looked anemic against the Packers. Running back Reggie Bush had trouble breaking away from longer runs without the defense having to constantly keep track of or double-team Johnson. Needless to say, the offense is completely different with Johnson, widely recognized as the best wide receiver in the league.
Johnson acknowledges his significance, but only in the most humble way possible, it seems.
“Just from talking to some of the guys, they like when I’m out there,” Johnson said. “That’s obvious, but like I was saying earlier, it’s just the fact that we’re all professional players. You can make the same play that I make – you’ve just got to believe in yourself.”
While that might be a stretch since Johnson’s freakish athleticism is a gift few others enjoy, players would at least be wise to emulate Johnson’s attitude and work ethic.