Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson left Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints a little less than whole.
The fifth-year pro was going down the field as part of the team’s punt coverage unit when, somehow, he severed the tip of his left middle finger. He didn’t return to the game.
“It was pretty devastating for myself because it was a very close ballgame,” Johnson said Monday. “It was 7-7 at that point and it was a big game that I wanted to be a part of and wanted to do everything I could to help my teammates win.
“I was thinking more about them and being more upset about that then I was, pretty much, about my finger.”
Johnson commended the team’s trainers and coaching staff for handling the situation, and said the reality of him losing part of his finger did not set in until Monday morning.
“I was joking around in the hospital, because they had some pretty good stuff to help me get through the pain,” he said, adding he was taking pictures and laughing about it. “It really didn’t set in until this morning when I got here and we took the gauze off and we got it cleaned up here and I actually got to see that it was the same length as my index finger.”
The 2009 third-round pick out of Alabama said things like this happen, adding that you can’t play football without risking your health.
That said, it’s not often a player loses part of a finger, so the recovery timetable is a bit uncertain.
“The big part of it is infection just because the bone was exposed once I pulled it out of the glove, so they wanted to make sure that they got everything clean and got the stitches put in well,” he said, adding that pain tolerance is also part of the equation.
Johnson is not too concerned about how the finger — or lack there of — will impact his play, saying the middle finger has little impact on how a player catches the ball. In fact, he said his middle finger “probably wasn’t getting used for anything good anyway.”
But football or not, this is something he’s going to have to live with.
“It’s a different injury. We hear about ACLs, we hear about shoulder separations or different things like that,” he said. “But for someone to actually lose a part of their finger, and that’s something that you can’t just go and put back on. It’s gone.
“It’s something that I will be without, something that I will have to adjust to. At the end of the day, I’ve got nine more and just move forward with it.”
The Arizona Cardinals Broadcast Department contributed to this report