Cardinals' David Johnson to have wrist surgery, reportedly out 2-3 months

The Arizona Cardinals -- and Fantasy owners everywhere -- suffered a major blow in their first game of the season when star running back David Johnson suffered a major wrist injury (a dislocated wrist) that will require surgery. According to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter, Johnson will have surgery this week and will be out for two-to-three months. 

Cardinals beat writer Darren Urban stated on Monday that if the doctor Johnson was visiting for a second opinion gave him the same diagnosis as the first, Johnson would have surgery and go on injured reserve. 

With the surgery apparently happening, an IR trip seems likely. His timeline of two-to-three months could allow Johnson to return late in the season, but that would likely depend on how the Cardinals fare during his absence. Indeed, Schefter reports that the plan is exactly that. 

If Johnson is out for two months, he will miss games against the Colts, Cowboys, 49ers, Eagles, Buccaneers, Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks. The third month contains games against the Texans, Jaguars, and Rams, and possibly the Titans if we take "three months" literally and he doesn't return until after the Cardinals' Week 14 game on December 10. 

While he's out the Cardinals will turn to some combination of backups Andre Ellington and Kerwynn Williams, former Arizona State running back D.J. Foster (signed Monday off the Patriots' practice squad), and potentially former Cardinal and current free agent Chris Johnson

None of them, obviously, brings the combination of running and receiving skill that Johnson has, which is nearly unparalleled in today's NFL. Johnson last season became the first player in NFL history to total at least 100 yards from scrimmage in each of his team's first 15 games of the season. The Cardinals had even bigger plans for him in 2017, with Bruce Arians repeatedly raising the possibility of giving Johnson 30 touches per game. He already had 17 touches for 91 total yards at the time he got injured. 

The Cardinals don't necessarily have any back on the roster that brings the power element of Johnson's game, but both Ellington and Williams are experienced at catching the ball out of the backfield. They're not quite as prolific as Johnson, of course, but they can at least provide a safety valve for Carson Palmer on check-downs. Arians likes to throw the ball down the field, though, and with Johnson out opposing teams won't have to bring that extra man into the box, thus closing off some of those deep passing lanes. It's a potentially big issue for a Cardinals team that was looking for a bounce-back season from its offense that unexpectedly struggled last season. 

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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