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Calvin Johnson's Back Injury Never Went Away

Lions receiver Calvin Johnson talked with Tom Kowalski over the weekend and had a few interesting things to say.  The most, though, was the fact that his back injury never really went away last season despite it happening in the third game of the year.

C.J. went up for a catch last year against Philadelphia early on in the season.  Johnson made the grab in exciting fashion, but unfortunately landed right on his back on the way down.  It was a rough hit since he couldn't brace himself at all, and the injury knocked him out of that game. 

Although C.J. had a solid season even with the injury, it affected him more than he let on, and Mike Martz apparently didn't help the issue at first either.

"I was on meds the rest of the season. I was taking Vicodin twice a game just to get through the game,'' Johnson said. "I stayed hurt the whole season, probably because I was trying to come back too soon. But I'm not going to be the kind of guy who's going to say 'I can't do this or this because I'm hurt.' I'm not going to say that.''

"(Then-offensive coordinator Mike) Martz couldn't stand the fact that I wasn't practicing,'' Johnson said. "When I first got hurt, that Wednesday (after the Philadelphia game) I was out there in my sweats watching practice and he told me to go run. I said 'I can't run.' I couldn't even walk fast. I was thinking 'Why are you telling me to run?'"

If Johnson can stay healthy next season, he should definitely have a breakout type of performance.  Obviously Roy Williams will be the premier receiver in the offense, but since it is looking like he will be gone after 2008, Johnson is going to have to start preparing to be a #1 type of receiver in the NFL sooner rather than later.