Johnson also missed last week's game in Cleveland, largely as a precaution. He has been bothered by a bruised knee but is expected to be ready to go once the regular season gets starts in two weeks.
The Patriots, meanwhile, were without receiver Danny Amendola, who is hobbled and didn't practice all week. The team doesn't view Amendola's absence as a major concern as he's expected to be ready for the regular-season opener.
Johnson, who had a league-leading 122 receptions for an NFL-record 1,964 yards last season, caught three passes in Detroit's preseason opener on Aug. 9 against the New York Jets.
Patrick Edwards started in Johnson's place.
Johnson will begin the season needing 1,338 yards to pass Herman Moore (9,174) for the most receiving yards in Lions history.
Information from ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss was used in this report.