David Johnson, the Arizona Cardinals running back who is having an MVP caliber season, left Sunday’s final season game with an apparent knee injury at the end of the first quarter. It was supposed to be a record-setting game for Johnson who was hoping to become the first NFL player to accumulate 100 yards or more in 16 straight games, according to ESPN, but instead David suffered the first injury of his career.
Johnson writhed on the field in pain after his left leg became twisted and trapped in a tackle by the Rams defensive end Eugene Sims. Though David was able to walk off the field with help, commentators noted that Johnson appeared to be in excruciating pain as he was examined on the sidelines, biting his mouth guard as trainers tended to his knee. Eventually, Johnson was carted off to the locker room much to the dismay of Arizona Cardinals fans.
David Johnson has been a bright light in a rough season for the Cardinals. Johnson has had 20 touchdowns in 16 games, 16 rushing, and four receiving for more than 2,000 years combined. Johnson is considered a viable Offensive Player of the Year candidate. The Arizona team had been expected to be a Super Bowl contender but continually fell short as Carson Palmer struggled most of the season behind a virtually non-existent offensive line and special teams suffered from awful miscues and missed field goals.
Cardinals fans took to Twitter to chastise Arians for even playing David Johnson and risking injury against a Rams team that seems to curse Arizona every year. The Cardinals versus Rams outing was considered a virtual throw away game because neither team is headed for the playoffs.
IF DAVID JOHNSON MISSES NEXT SEASON I SWEAR BRUCE ARIANS IS AN IDIOT
— Frank (@GOATBooker) January 1, 2017
Nice Arians, keeping David Johnson out there for meaningless statistical milestones in the big picture and getting him injured as a result
— juan carlo sarinas (@JC_2594) January 1, 2017
To add insult to injury, Johnson fell 56 yards short of meeting his 100 yard goal during the game against the Rams. David had five carries for six yards and three receptions for 38 yards before suffering the injury to his knee according to NFL stats.
Johnson joins the growing list of injured Arizona Cardinals players for the 2016 season. The Arizona offense has lost most of its starting o-line, wide receiver John Brown has struggled with sickle cell issues, and David Johnson’s back up Chris Johnson suffered an injury early in the season. The defense has seen injuries to playmakers Tyrann Mathieu and Tony Jefferson among others.
David Johnson was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the 2015 draft. As a senior at Northern Iowa, Johnson rushed for more than 1,500 yards and had over 500 receiving yards for a total of 19 touchdowns, catching the attention of NFL scouts.
Though an injury to David Johnson could mean a rough start for the 2017 season, Cardinals fans are also holding their breath to see what veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald makes in the offseason. Fitzgerald has been vague on whether or not he intends to retire after this year. Fitz turns 34 this year and has been the backbone of the Arizona Cardinals receiving corps, continually making plays and leading the team with heart. However, the Super Bowl ring continues to be elusive for him. Fitzgerald has said he will not make a decision until his body takes a couple of months to recover in the post-season.
If the injury to David Johnson is significant and its repercussions carry over into 2017 and the Cardinals also lose Fitzgerald to retirement, their offense could be starting next season on the wrong foot. Fingers crossed that David Johnson didn’t just inherit the Cardinals curse of a torn ACL.
Update: ESPN‘s Adam Schefter is reporting David Johnson is showing meniscus damage but his ACL appears to be intact. An MRI will be performed on Monday.
Initial tests on Cardinals' RB David Johnson's knee showed meniscus damage, ACL intact, per source. MRI on Monday for further clarity.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 1, 2017
Johnson returned to the sidelines and was seen walking around unassisted following half time.
[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]