Johnson (tibia) enters the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. After Johnson landed on short-term IR on Dec. 1 due to a fractured tibia in his left leg, his sole appearance thereafter would have been in the Super Bowl, and Jay Glazer of FOX Sports even reported before Sunday's NFC championship game that the veteran RB would have been activated upon an Arizona victory. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the Panthers wiped away that possibility with a thorough beatdown. While Johnson is nearing the end of his recovery, his absence allowed David Johnson to stake a claim to the top running back gig, leaving general manager Steve Keim to evaluate whether the elder Johnson is a part of the Cardinals' future.
Johnson (fractured tibia) returned to practice Tuesday, ESPN's Field Yates reports. Placed on short-term injured reserve, Johnson won't be eligible to return until the Super Bowl, if the Cardinals make it that far. Even in such a scenario, he'd likely play second fiddle to rookie David Johnson, who emerged as one of the NFL's better running backs over the final five weeks of the regular season. The Cardinals may have found their running back of the future, but not before the 30-year-old Johnson proved that he still has something left. Be it in Arizona or elsewhere, (Chris) Johnson shouldn't have trouble finding work next season, potentially even garnering serious consideration for starting jobs. First, he'll try to get healthy in time for a potential Super Bowl appearance.
On Tuesday night, head coach Bruce Arians told SiriusXM NFL Radio that Johnson "is cleared to go" and has resumed running, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com reports. Placed on the IR/designated-to-return list on Dec. 1 due to a fractured tibia in his left leg, Johnson missed the last five games of the regular season. Under league guidelines, he cannot practice until next week, with his only potential appearance in the postseason to occur if the Cardinals reach Super Bowl 50. In a discussion with Weinfuss on Wednesday, Johnson estimated that he's approximately 80-85 percent healthy, but active status would be out of the question this weekend, if he was eligible. In the interim, David Johnson will be entrusted with most of the touches out of the backfield, while Andre Ellington provides support.
Johnson (fractured tibia) has been placed on injured reserve/designated to return, ruling him out for the season unless the Cardinals reach the Super Bowl, NFL Network's Albert Breer reports. With Johnson officially done for the regular season, Andre Ellington (turf toe) and David Johnson both get major boosts in value. Ellington, however, is dealing with a turf toe injury that could keep him out of Sunday's game against the Rams. He is only considered day-to-day, but turf toe is a notoriously unpredictable injury in terms of recovery time. The Cardinals may thus need contributions from Stepfan Taylor and/or Kerwynn Williams, the latter of whom is currently signed to the practice squad.
Johnson (fractured tibia) is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks, Mike Jurecki of FOX Sports 910 Phoenix reports. The diagnosis of a fractured tibia hasn't been confirmed by the Cardinals, but assuming the reports are accurate, Johnson will miss the rest of the regular season. With Andre Ellington (turf toe) also likely to miss time, rookie David Johnson is set to lead the Arizona backfield. The Cardinals likely still hope to have Chris Johnson back at some point during the playoffs.
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