But Johnson apparently was close to playing despite his knee injury. The star wide receiver was declared inactive Sunday after being listed as questionable throughout the week.
“Real close,” Johnson said. “Obviously we weren’t all the way there today, so working hard to get back.”
The Lions hope that the knee injury, which was different than the strain Johnson had last season, will not be long-term.
“Calvin’s a tough guy,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “He’s a hard worker and he’s going to work hard to get back as quick as he can.”
Schwartz declined to speculate when Johnson, who is the Lions’ leading receiver with 21 receptions for 312 yards and four touchdowns, would return. He also is the catalyst for a lot of double teams for opposing defenses.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford said he had an idea Johnson might not play on Saturday, but wasn’t completely sure until he was ruled inactive following warmups.
“[I knew Johnson was out] about the same time y’all did,” Lions receiver Kris Durham said. “We were more prepared like there’s a chance he may not play, but we didn’t know for sure until he got out there and tested it in warmups and stuff.”
In other injury news, running back Theo Riddick was taken to a hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion, but returned to the team by the end of the game and went back to Michigan with the Lions.
- Previously covered University of Michigan for ESPN.com and AnnArbor.com
- Also covered Notre Dame for Fort Wayne Journal Gazette