Friday, May 24, 2013

Calvin Johnson's Broken Finger Revelation Only Makes 2012 Season Look More Impressive

Stop the presses! For another year, the Detroit Lions are finding a small bit of offseason heat, but this time, it isn't exactly the team's fault at all.

Monday, Calvin Johnson revealed he played with three broken fingers in 2012, to most only enhancing the fact that he set a single season record for receiving yardage. Naturally, one member of the media couldn't help himself with some criticism, though, and quickly rained on Detroit's parade.

Mike Florio was irritated that the Lions didn't fully reveal Johnson's "true" injuries during the season, going through week to week injury reports to note that Detroit listed their wide receiver twice on the injury list with a thumb issue, but never said anything about other broken or injured fingers.

Of course, Florio couldn't simply be impressed that Johnson managed to play through pain and remain a viable receiver minus one line of praise at the end of his column. Mostly, Florio had to use this "incident" as a reason to lambaste the NFL for their injury reporting procedures, saying Baltimore should be calling the league office to complain, given they were fined for not reporting Ed Reed's shoulder injury during the year.

Florio must have skipped a day in anatomy class, so here's a refresher. The thumb is part of the hand, and thus, is also a finger, meaning the Lions may have reported Johnson's problem as correctly as they knew. Perhaps the other injured fingers were not troubling Johnson at the time enough to be listed on the official injury report. Maybe Johnson, a proud gamer, never revealed to team doctors that there was a problem during the year or said he was feeling hurt. There's many different possibilities. To imply there's funny business going on because the Lions "never disclosed" the other broken fingers is a stretch, though.

Besides, where star players are concerned, why should the NFL not allow teams to conduct injury reporting the way they please during a week to week season? Knowing about the "Bountygate" scandal, why would teams want to report the specific nature of injuries, especially those of players who attempt to play through pain? It opens Pandora's box up further for targeting of injuries on the field, which is an ugly element of football nobody wants to admit exists. During the Stanley Cup playoffs, for instance, hockey teams are very careful not to say too much about injuries, fearing this.

Apparently, Florio wants a league of full disclosure. If that's the case, he also needs to be fine with a league where players routinely target their brethren in ways quieter than the New Orleans Saints did, knowing full well they could maim them further, which he is not. Anyone who thinks Johnson's opponents wouldn't have come at him with extra hits to the hands in 2012 knowing they were hurt is naive. That's a part of the game, just as much as players playing through pain and keeping quiet about injuries is.

Credit Johnson for taking a beating yet managing to hold onto the ball. During this particular offseason revelation, that's the most important thing to remember while others scream and cry about potential violations of rules.

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on his personal Twitter account @SportsGuyTheMax or on this site's Twitter @detroitlions101
Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.
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