On Thursday, Lions receiver Calvin Johnson said that, in addition to suffering a concussion on September 30 against the Vikings, he also sustained nerve damage.
On Friday, Calvin Johnson’s claim was refuted by the Lions. And by Calvin Johnson.
Here’s what the Lions had to say, via Anwar Richardson of MLive.com:
“In response to the various reports yesterday regarding Calvin Johnson and injuries, we reiterate that Calvin did not suffer a concussion at any time this season.
“With respect to the Minnesota game on September 30, Calvin sustained a hit that resulted in him being removed from the game and evaluated pursuant to the appropriate concussion protocol by our team doctors.
“He also was subsequently examined the following day and was found to have no concussion.
“Additionally, Calvin did not suffer any nerve damage.
“He sustained what is referred to as a ‘stinger’ in September 30 game and was able to finish the game.”
The “reports” to which the Lions refer weren’t reports. They were things that Johnson actually said. And so the Lions’ denial rings hollow unless Johnson joins in.
“I would like to clarify some of my comments from yesterday,” Johnson said, via Richardson. “I am aware that I did not suffer a concussion in our game against the Vikings earlier this year. I misused the terms ‘nerve damage’ and ‘concussion.’
“I have not suffered any nerve damage nor have I received any treatment for nerve damage. I did suffer a stinger in the game against Minnesota and also have experienced the kind of wear and tear that most NFL players are dealing with at this point in the season.”
He didn’t “clarify” his comments. He flat-out contradicted them.
And now every team has a vehicle for avoiding NFL scrutiny when a player blabs about an undisclosed injury. The team needs to get to the player and persuade him to “clarify” his remarks.
Of course, there’s also a chance that Johnson’s current version is accurate. But that means his prior comments weren’t. And we’re not sure claiming that he simply “misused” the terms puts the matter to rest.
Then again, if the Lions and the league and Johnson say nothing more about it, there’s really nothing more to do. Other than wonder why in the world Johnson claimed he had a concussion and nerve damage when he didn’t.