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Bills WR Steve Johnson back injury actually a fractured vertebra

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Steve Johnson had a more serious injury than he originally thought. (USATSI)
Steve Johnson had a more serious injury than he originally thought. (USATSI)

When Bills receiver Steve Johnson injured his back earlier in the offseason, he called it a strain upon his return to practice last month. Turns out, the injury was a little more serious than that.

On Thursday, he told the Buffalo News that while filming this workout for the team website in March, Johnson fractured his L-5 vertebra.

"It got to the point where, 'It's got to be something more than a strain or something' because every time I sit down it's hurting," Johnson told the newspaper. "Every time I stand up it's hurting. I lay down, it's hurting. I went through rehab and it wasn't helping.

"So I got the MRI, and it was a slight fracture."

So, that must have been quite an unpleasant surprise.

Considering Johnson was practicing last month before twisting his ankle, it's not like the broken vertebra is going to keep him out of action (a cortisone shot and an epidural allowed him to practice with the pain).

More from the News:

Johnson's offseason workout approach came under fire when he told radio host Jim Rome his training consisted mostly of basketball and road work.

The Bills wanted to show fans that Johnson really does take training seriously by filming a session. Johnson said the back injury occurred while doing a power-rope exercise.

Then on the first day of voluntary workouts, Johnson twisted while making a catch during an individual drill. He spun clockwise, stepped awkwardly on a cone and hurt his left ankle.

"The back wasn't cleared up yet. I was just dealing with it," Johnson said. "Then I came back to see if I could get out there and wiggle with my back and ended up stepping on a cone."

Interesting, don't you think, that the Bills reportedly felt pressure from their fan base regarding a player's supposed work habits? And that pressure supposedly led to an injury. I don't know what to make of it, other than it's interesting.

Anyway, the good news for Bills fans: their No. 1 receiver hasn't missed a game in three years, and whoever gets the start at quarterback -- EJ Manuel or Kevin Kolb -- would love for that trend to continue into 2013.

"I try not to miss a game," Johnson said. "You never know how long you'll be here.”

 
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