According to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News, Johnson endured the pain en route to a record-setting season:
Calvin Johnson confirmed that he played with broken fingers last season. Said he's been trying to straighten them out. No offseason surgery— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) May 20, 2013
NFL.com's Marc Sessler also reports that Johnson played with three broken fingers "for most of last season":
Megatron on Monday confirmed to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News that he suited up for most of last season with three broken fingers. There was speculation during the season that Johnson's fingers were damaged when they were seen wrapped in bandages. Now we know.
Meanwhile, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that Megatron's fingers were not broken, per an unnamed source:
While the team has not yet addressed the contention, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Johnson actually didn’t break any fingers.
This doesn’t change the fact that he suffered some sort of injury to the fingers on his left hand that has left them crooked.
In any case, Megatron basically played with a disfigured hand and still managed to accumulate 1,964 receiving yards on 122 receptions in 2012, setting the NFL single-season record for most receiving yards.
Is Megatron the NFL's best player right now?
Given the nature of the receiver position, simply playing with injured fingers is an impressive feat. But when you also consider he set an NFL record in the process, Johnson's status as the game's best downfield playmaker is only strengthened further.
Factor in the arm strength that quarterback Matthew Stafford puts behind the rock, and catching passes becomes even more difficult. Nevertheless, Johnson remained dependable all year long and crushed the so-called Madden Curse into oblivion.
While the Lions finished with a disappointing record of 4-12 last year—last place in the NFC North—it was to no fault of their top offensive weapon. En route to earning another All-Pro selection, Megatron led the NFL in receiving yards for a second straight year.
Regardless of his hand situation, Johnson continues to prove time and again that he is the most reliable wideout the league has to offer.