Rashad Johnson optimistic about return

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Maybe the third time is the charm for Arizona Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson.

He’s tried twice to play without the tip of his left middle finger, which essentially snapped off during a first-half play on Sept. 22 in New Orleans. But each time, coach Bruce Arians or a team doctor vetoed Johnson getting back on the field.

With his cast down to a splint and the stitches out, Johnson is optimistic he can play Sunday in San Francisco.

“Everything’s looking good, healing well,” Johnson said. “We got some things we’re going to try this week. Really good chance to be back this week.”

Arians said the same during his Monday news conference, and then reiterated it on his weekly segment on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday night.

The stitches were removed Sunday, all but eliminating the chance for an infection.

Johnson was notified by Arians and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles that he wasn’t playing Sunday, and instead of a helmet and pads he donned a radio earpiece and coached his teammates from the sideline.

“They thought it was a better idea for me to just take another week for the health and safety precautions,” Johnson said. “I think it’s going to work out in the end. Sit the game now and not have to worry about it later on down the road.”