Gruesome injuries are never a good way to start off training camp, especially for promising young players like Ronald Johnson.
The Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver was running across the middle during 7-on-7 drills when a low pass from backup quarterback Mike Kafka forced him to fall over himself. Johnson landed awkwardly on his ankle, which made a cracking sound as he came down.
Although Johnson and the medical staff attempted to put his dislocated ankle back in place, their efforts were fruitless as it appeared that something was keeping the joint from realigning.
“He tried to reduce it himself and it wouldn’t stay in,” Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder told the media. “Dr. Peter DeLuca was with us on the field. He tried to reduce it on the field and it wouldn’t stay in, and the reason it wouldn’t stay in, we think, was there was a fracture on the outside.”
Johnson, a 2011 sixth-round pick by the San Francisco 49ers out of USC, spent his rookie year as part of the Eagles’ practice squad before being activated during Week 17. Especially after the recent loss of fellow wide receiver Riley Cooper to a broken collar bone, it was expected that Johnson would push for playing time as a fourth option in the Eagles passing attack. This injury, however, has likely brought the young pass-catchers 2012 campaign to a premature close.
“He worked out all offseason like a wild man, and you hate seeing that,” Eagles head coach Andy Reid said. “He’s a great, great kid and a good player, too. He’s a phenomenal player. He really had a chance to do something with our football team.”
Now with two wide receivers down only a few short days into the start of training camp, the Eagles will have to depend on rookie sixth-round pick Marvin McNutt to step up and fill the void. The former Iowa standout has been hyped as a potential sleeper who could emerge as a productive No. 4 for Philadelphia.
You hate to see seasons end so quickly, especially for players like Johnson who are on the cusp of a breakout year. Unfortunately, injuries are unavoidable in the game of football.
It’s not ideal, but at least there’s next year.