According to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, Johnson has confirmed that he played with three broken fingers during the 2012 season. Johnson said surgery won’t be needed, and that he’s trying to straighten them out. (Torry Holt and Brian Baldinger think that’s cute.)
In February, McCosky reported that Johnson had played with at least two broken fingers. At the Scouting Combine, coach Jim Schwartz declined to comment.
“I am not going to comment on any of our players’ health,” Schwartz said at the time. “But that’s not uncommon for a wide receiver. . . . We don’t have any injury reports this time of year. And you know how I am about injuries.”
Yes, we know. Because we’ve looked at the Lions’ injuries reports for every game of the 2012 season, and there’s nothing about broken fingers. Twice — in Week 13 and Week 15 — Johnson is listed with a “thumb” injury. Presumably, three broken fingers would result in a different description, and it would show up more than twice, in non-consecutive weeks.
It’s the kind of development that should have folks like Ravens coach John Harbaugh calling the league office and complaining. Harbaugh’s team was fined $20,000 last year for failing to disclose an Ed Reed shoulder injury. The Lions apparently failed to disclose Johnson’s broken fingers.
This gets back to something we mention about from time to time. If the rules aren’t going to be enforced consistently, the NFL needs to change the rules, and enforce those rules consistently.
Regardless, the broken fingers make Johnson’s accomplishments from last season even more impressive. And they finally give the Maddencursers something tangible to which they can point and exclaim, “A-ha!“
UPDATE 1:53 p.m.: A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Johnson did not actually break any fingers.