Detroit Lions star wide receiver Calvin Johnson missed three practices during this week, and is now listed as questionable for the team’s Week nine matchup. The Lions play the Jacksonville Jaguars and are attempting to get back to a .500 record and turn the second half of their season around.
Johnson, who broke many team records last season, has not missed a game since Week 17 of the 2010 season. That game was missed due to an ankle injury. Johnson is currently recovering from a knee injury that has bothered him for the last three weeks.
On the 2012 season, Calvin has 41 receptions for 638 yards. Johnson has been targeted with 74 passes from Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. The disappointing part for Johnson and his fantasy football owners is his lack of touchdowns – Johnson only has one touchdown on the season, despite catching 16 in last year’s career-year.
Last season, Johnson caught 96 receptions and ended the year with 1681 receiving yards. An injury to Johnson could mean an even further decline in his statistics; Johnson was on pace for his third straight 1000 receiving yard season after obtaining 1120 and 1681 in the last two seasons. A strong season would also give Johnson his fifth straight season of 900 or more receiving yards, with his rookie season (756) being the only one under 900.
An injury to Johnson could also be the result of the Madden curse. Every player who has appeared on the cover of the popular Madden video game has either seen huge declines in their statistics or missed significant time during the following season. Calvin had the honor of winning the cover in a fan vote, and now be the victim of this mysterious curse.
The Lions lost Nate Burleson for the entire 2012 season. Despite losing Burleson and Johnson’s decline in touchdowns, the Lions have utilized Titus Young and Ryan Broyles for scoring. In last week’s win over the Seattle Seahawks, the Lions scored four touchdowns by Broyles, Young, and Stafford. All of these touchdowns were the result of Johnson being double-teamed and the team recognizing openings elsewhere on the field.
If the Lions are without Johnson, they will see Young and Broyles fill the one and two positions. In the last week, the Lions completed a trade bringing Mike Thomas over from the Jaguars. If Johnson is unable to play, Thomas could have an immediate opportunity to make an impact for the Lions.