Lions WR Calvin Johnson played through nerve injury
"Taking those hits, they're real violent," said Calvin Johnson. "They definitely have a lot of lingering impact on whether it be your neck or your head in (Jahvid Best's) case. It can do a lot of stuff."
During the first half of Detroit Lions’ 20-13 defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings on 30th September, Calvin Johnson dropped a touchdown pass after safety Harrison Smith’s right shoulder collided with his sternum. Calvin Johnson took another hit and temporarily lost consciousness in the game after making helmet-to-helmet contact with Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway.
The 29-yaer-old Calvin Johnson later claimed that he sustained a concussion on the Chad Greenway hit but Detroit Lions coach insisted that there were no such issues. However, Chad Greenway was later fined $21,000 by the league for the illegal hit on Calvin Johnson.
After the Minnesota Vikings game in Week 4, the Detroit Lions had a bye week to come back rejuvenated and up-to-date with new schemes, but Calvin Johnson still struggled with his hand grip due to nerve damage. Over the next three games, Calvin Johnson dropped an astounding three passes.
Calvin Johnson dropped a crossing route that landed right in the middle of his hands during the 13-7 loss to the Chicago Bears on 22nd October, and again let a touchdown pass drop through his open hands during the 28-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Most recently on Sunday, Calvin Johnson was tackled on the1-yard line by a Jacksonville Jaguars defender following a 38-yard gain in the second-quarter, after which he complained about not having a tough enough grip on the ball to carry it over to the goal line.
Although the effects on the nerves are finally subsiding, Calvin Johnson stated he felt a searing pain shooting down his arm upon initially sustaining the injury.
"It's definitely coming back,” Calvin is Johnson said of the finally subduing lingering effects on the nerves, “feeling a lot better, but it's the middle of the season."
Jim Schwartz added that the nerve damage did not trigger or affect in any way Calvin Johnson’s knee injury, that has him limited for the past 2 ½ weeks.
Many have questioned Calvin Johnson’s preference to run only select routes, which the 2-time Pro Bowler associated with his inability to rush due to sore knees. However, Calvin Johnson claimed that the reluctance to go across the middle anything to nothing do with the two hits he sustained against the Minnesota Vikings defenders.
"No, actually had some nerve damage so that was kind of messing up my grip a little bit. Not to blame it on that,” said Calvin Johnson, “but I think that the concussion maybe could have had something to do with some of that damage I had going on."
Injured or not, Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said Calvin Johnson’s presence o n field is a “bonus” for the team.