Chris Johnson Injury: Updates on Cardinals RB's Leg and Return

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured Columnist

Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson (27) stretches during NFL football training camp, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson suffered a fractured tibia against the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 29.

He was placed on the injured reserve/designated to return list, and the first game he would be eligible to play in would be the Super Bowl, per Darren Urban of Arizona's official website.

Continue for updates.

Latest on Johnson's Practice Status 

Tuesday, Jan. 12

Johnson returned to practice on Tuesday, though he remains on short-term IR, per Field Yates of ESPN.

Johnson Comments on Recovery

Tuesday, Dec. 15

Johnson said his rehab is going well and noted the decision to place him on the IR had more to do with the roster spot than his timetable to return, per Adam Green of Arizona Sports 95.7.

Johnson's Injury to Impact Contract Incentives

Tuesday, Dec. 1

Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate broke down what Johnson stands to lose as he recovers:

Nick Underhill @nick_underhill

Last Johnson tweet… Missed out of $850K in incentives -$250K at 850 yds -$250K at 1,000 yds -$250K at 1,200 -$100K for Pro Bowl

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Johnson's Career Resurrected with Cardinals

Heading into Week 12, Johnson had 184 carries for 797 yards and three rushing touchdowns.  

Johnson spent most of 2014 as a New York Jets backup running back. He did appear in all 16 games, but he had career lows across the board with 155 carries, 663 yards and one rushing touchdown. 

Because of his declining performance, Johnson had to wait a long time before a team would sign him. The Cardinals eventually gave the 29-year-old a shot, agreeing to a one-year deal in mid-August with the hope that he would bolster a running back stable that includes Andre Ellington. 

Shortly after Johnson signed, he injured a hamstring that briefly kept him out of action. That was about the only bad thing to happen since his arrival in the desert, however, as the former first-round pick has been running like he did at his peak with the Tennessee Titans

The Cardinals always have big-play potential on offense with a strong-armed quarterback in Carson Palmer and one of the NFL's deepest receiving corps, but the addition of a solid running game has elevated this team into the NFC's elite.

Moving forward, Johnson's injury could alter the Cardinals' offensive game plan. David Johnson and Ellington will likely split carries when both are healthy; however, Ellington also suffered a turf toe injury in Week 12, per Urban, which has left David Johnson to carry the load for the team.

Urban also noted the team promoted Kerwynn Williams off the practice squad, which has helped restore some of the depth lost at the position.

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