Calvin Johnson confirms he played with three broken fingers in 2012

Getty Images

During the 2012 season, the Lions took issue with receiver Calvin Johnson’s contention that he had suffered a concussion and nerve damage.  Johnson has now given the team another reason to be nervous.

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.

52 responses to “Calvin Johnson confirms he played with three broken fingers in 2012

  1. Why is the requirement to report player injuries not viewed by the league as being entirely inconsistent with their player safety initiatives?

  2. CJ breaking the all-time single season receiving record with 3 broken fingers is amazing, congrats on playing through it.

  3. These injury reports are for the bookmakers and gamblers and do nothing to improve the game. I doubt that any given week’s opponents believe the reports, since teams have incentive to lie on their reports in order to deceive.

    Of course, the league does have some incentive to encourage the reports. As the Ravens found out, it gives The Great Roger Goodell Himself Live And In Person another way to fine teams he doesn’t like. They get docked for the Reed injury, while Belichick lies with absolute impunity every week. The Ravens aren’t making an issue of it, since they have the hardware while the Pats’ Lombardis gather more dust.

  4. Players play through injuries all the time. I can only speak about my team but I know that one played with bone spurs on both ankles and another played on a bum ankle the entire season.

    The season’s long and grueling and very rarely does any one player end it without a scratch.

  5. Megatron and Marshall are the two most dominant WR’s in the game right now.

    How do you cover guys that are 6’5 235 and run faster than most running backs?

    Jordy Nelson and Jennings are also bad dudes.

    A team from the NFC North or West is going to be in the superbowl this year.

  6. Shut up haters. Every coach in the nfl would love to have this guy. Including your coach

  7. players play through injuries all the time but i’m not sure all that many of them break all-time receiving records through injuries

  8. Calvin Johnson is on pace to be up there with Jerry Rice.
    He doesn’t get into trouble off the field, he doesn’t complain, he goes through the middle, he’s a deep threat, he constantly faces double if not triple teams, he gets it done week in week out with no viable help.
    Congrats on CJ for being an inspiration to anyone who admires greatness.

  9. Most impressive specimen at wide receiver in NFL history.

    Sorry 49ers fans, but this guy can do more than Jerry Rice, just needs to win a championship

  10. People online and in town were up in arms about him dropping passes even though he’d obviously been concussed and after word got out about the loss of sensation from the nerve damage. Adding broken fingers to it all still won’t get some people to shut up even though he broke records. No matter how many times he goes across the middle or he bails Stafford out with spectacular plays…he won’t please them all. That’s a shame. Even Barry had detractors… #overworked #underappreciated

  11. Love Unbiasfan’s list of top 5 WRs. Hilarious. Only four of them have played pro ball. That’s brilliant

  12. I think people forget that players usually aren’t going around talking about this stuff. Reporters pepper them constantly looking for a story. Don’t knock the guy for being honest.

  13. i know that pft doesn’t know anything at all about actual football, but does anyone else think that probably hundreds of players played last year with broken, jammed, or dislocated fingers? pretty sure this is called a “non-story”, but pft is pretty desperate for page-hits…

    and yes, megatron is a beast.

  14. I was one of the first to follow this site, back when Florio was in his infancy as a blogger. I was a huge fan.

    Now, in terms of reader comment censorship and editing, it has become a raging and complete joke. I won’t even go into the details; suffice to say that the “hallway monitors” on here are essentially un-American. There is no such thing as free speech on ProFootballTalk.com; they only allow what fits their agenda.

  15. If I were a coach or a GM (Whoever finalizes the Injury Report) I would have 53 players on my injury report.

    I would have 61 if I were allowed to put practice squad guys on the injury report to.

  16. I wish this would have been written as something other than another Lions doom and gloom story.

    At least they saved one line near the bottom to vaguely point at how incredible of an accomplishment last season was for CJ, as muddled as it was by the madden curse zinger.

  17. Players play with injuries all the time, but, when your fingers are broken and your job is to catch the ball—and you do that to the tune of 1964—well that’s impressive. Imagine how many yards he does with no digit impairment.

    #G.O.T.T.
    (Greatest of This Time)

  18. I know my fellow Skins fan, logicalvoice will say Garcon or Moss or something crazy, but Megatron is the baddest WR in the game !! Imagine if he had a decent 2nd WR…

  19. CJ is the opposite of the diva receivers from a decade ago. Knows his parents would probably still kick his butt if he let his head get big. Just puts his head down and goes about his business. Good job.

  20. dwarftosser says:
    May 20, 2013 12:00 PM
    Megatron is amazing. Too bad he’s stuck in Detroit…

    You mean too bad for your team right? Like when they have to play him and he makes their secondary look like a bunch of little girls.

  21. johnelwayishorsefaced says: May 20, 2013 11:46 AM

    “And he still owned your team”

    Or got owned…In two games vs. the Bears – both Lions
    losses – CJ had 34 and 72 yards, respectively, and 0 TDs.

    MN (54 yds.) and Seattle (46 yds.) fared pretty well holding him in check, too.

  22. unbiasfan says:
    May 20, 2013 11:27 AM
    Top 5 Recievers in the NFl
    1) Calvin Johnson
    2) Brandon Marshall
    3) Larry Fitzgerald
    4) Greg Jennings
    5) Cordarelle Patterson

    Obvious troll is obvious.

  23. “steviemo says:
    May 20, 2013 12:13 PM
    I was one of the first to follow this site, back when Florio was in his infancy as a blogger. I was a huge fan.

    Now, in terms of reader comment censorship and editing, it has become a raging and complete joke. I won’t even go into the details; suffice to say that the “hallway monitors” on here are essentially un-American. There is no such thing as free speech on ProFootballTalk.com; they only allow what fits their agenda.”

    This is the most accurate statement ive read on this site in a long, long time.

  24. johnelwayishorsefaced says: May 20, 2013 1:01 PM

    “dwarftosser says:
    May 20, 2013 12:00 PM
    Megatron is amazing. Too bad he’s stuck in Detroit…

    You mean too bad for your team right? Like when they have to play him and he makes their secondary look like a bunch of little girls.”

    Can’t speak for dwarftosser, but my team’s secondary held CJ to 106 yards in two games combined…Just sayin’.

  25. Three broken fingers? So that’s the reason Detroit is so bad year in and year out.

  26. @larryboodry

    If i remember right, you are a Bears fan. I will show my respect and say Tillman, for some reason, knows the trick to keep CJ contained. Not shut down, but contained. Tillman is a very good corner and I hate when Calvin has to go up against him.

  27. @lionsdraftguy:

    Thank you for that, I have nothing against CJ and his talent is unquestioned…I get irate at comments like the ones I replied to, however, that fail to give credit where credit is due.

  28. 10 best WR’s in football….

    1) Megatron
    2) Julio
    3) Fitz (not holding not having a QB against him)
    4) Marshall
    5) Roddy
    6)AJ
    7) Percy
    8) Wallace
    9) Welker
    10) Hakeem
    10A) Cruz

  29. Wow imagine if this was an article about the Pats not reporting an injury like this and the comments that would be in such an article.

    The PFT double standard is in full force with this one.

Leave a Reply