Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson hasn't looked like himself for parts of this season. Uncharacteristic drops and a lack of touchdowns have cast a shadow on Johnson's season so far, and last week, the issues led me to wonder about what is wrong with him. We are just now starting to get an idea of why Johnson has seemed off, and it appears that the theory of tracing his problems back to the Lions' first game against the Minnesota Vikings this year was correct.
Although the Lions continue to deny that Johnson suffered a concussion against the Vikings in Week 4, he maintains that he did. What's more, on Thursday, Johnson admitted that he also suffered some nerve damage against the Vikings because of the big hits he took in that game. This came out in response to a question about whether or not those hits made him a bit tentative when going across the middle of the field. From the Free Press:
"No, actually had some nerve damage so that was kind of messing up my grip a little bit," he said. "Not to blame it on that, but I think that the concussion maybe could have had something to do with some of that damage I had going on."
Johnson hasn't practiced in a couple weeks because of a knee injury, so needless to say, he's been pretty banged up this season. The good news is that Johnson said he is "feeling a lot better" when it comes to the nerve damage, which apparently resulted in a shooting pain down his arm (similar to a stinger). The other good news is that Johnson did look like himself last Sunday, and he put up big numbers despite not having any practice in the days leading up to the Lions' game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It's certainly not good to read about how Johnson is dealing with all of these injuries, but now we know why his numbers were down following the Vikings game. He had a legitimate reason; it just didn't come out until now. Hopefully with the nerve damage subsiding he will continue to put up numbers like he did in Jacksonville last Sunday and that kind of production will become the norm again.