I had a chance to catch up with injured wide receiver Jaymar Johnson in the locker room on Wednesday. Johnson was placed on season-ending injured reserve after suffering ligament damage in his left thumb in the preseason opener against St. Louis.
Here is some of what Johnson said about his rehab after having surgery:
Q: How is your thumb?
Johnson: I got my full range [of motion] back. Got about 95 percent of my strength back in it. I tested it out good today. Me and Sid [Rice] were out there on the field running routes [before practice]. I caught the ball from every angle with no pain.
Q: How exactly did it happen?
Johnson: If you remember, when I broke the first tackle [on a punt return] and I was trying push myself off the ground, two guys jumped on my back. As I was coming up, they jumped on my back and my thumb bent backwards. I thought I just dislocated it. As soon as I got up, I tried to snap it back in place. I kept playing. I played the rest of the half.
I actually tore the ligament. It wasn't a break. They said it's supposed to take six to eight weeks. But actually I got my full range of motion back in like 4 1/2 weeks. Nobody knew I was going to heal this fast. Except me."
Q: Do you think you could have played this year?
Johnson: To be honest, I could have played by the third game. But this type of injury takes a minimum of six weeks and a max of maybe eight to 10 weeks. Like I said, nobody knew I was going to heal this fast. Do I like the decision to get put on IR? No. But was it the safe decision for them to make? Yes. I understand the business side of it and their concerns about my health so you can't really do nothing but respect it.
Q: How do you keep yourself busy without being able to practice?
Johnson: Oh my gosh. I wake up every morning at 7 o'clock and come here and get my lift in, get my running in and do my rehab. I go to the morning meetings and then me and Sid go out on the field and run routes and catch balls.
Q: No pain catching the ball?
Johnson: No pain whatsoever. Today, one pass caught me real hard and snapped my thumb back. I was surprised it didn't hurt. I was like, 'I'm good now.' [laughing]
Q: So you're just focused on next year?
Johnson: Yeah, it doesn't make any sense to sit around and mope about the situation. I think honestly you find out the true character of a person by the bad things they're going through. I'm just using this time to get smarter by going to meetings and studying the film. Of course learning from Moss. Getting faster, stronger. It's just a minor setback for a major comeback. That's how I looked at it.