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Frustrated Cardinal Chris Johnson hopes to return from injury this week

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Leading into last Saturday’s preseason contest with the San Diego Chargers, many were excited to see new Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson.

Signed to a one-year deal earlier in the week, head coach Bruce Arians talked about how the former Tennessee Titan and New York Jet would get roughly five to six carries in the game. Unfortunately, Johnson hurt his hamstring on the final play of Thursday’s practice and has not been on the field since.

Arians called Johnson’s status day-to-day and Wednesday said it’s possible he will return by the end of this week. Following practice, which Johnson did not take part in, the running back said his hamstring is feeling pretty good.

“We’re working towards getting back out there this week,” he said. “One of these days this week.”

The Cardinals are scheduled to have two more days of practice — Thursday and Friday — before hitting the road for a Sunday preseason matchup with the Oakland Raiders.

Johnson said it is frustrating that he suffered the injury on the final play of practice. He said it happened while he was making a move during a run. He stopped running as soon as he felt the pain.

The running back doesn’t feel like he needs to be on the field to prove what he can do, though as a player who has missed just one game in seven NFL seasons, missing time doesn’t sit well with him.

“I think they know what I can do already, but it’s just the type of player I am, I want to be out there practicing with my teammates,” he said. “I’ve never been a guy that really missed games or practice or anything like that. It’s a situation where it’s just frustrating just watching practice, like, I know I need to be out there practicing.”

Johnson, who has now been with the team for a little more than a week, noted the situation does have a silver lining. The time off has helped him focus on learning the team’s playbook.

But nothing can replace on-field reps, and Johnson said he’d like to get some in during the preseason in order to feel ready for Week 1.

“I feel like I need preseason games,” he said. “I always like — every preseason I like to get in there, get a couple carries in, and just get the feel for it.”

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