Healthy Calvin Johnson talks injuries

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Calvin Johnson would not talk about his injuries last season -- not about the knees that ached or the finger that was busted. When asked about his health, he'd deflect the questions even though it became obvious he wasn't himself on the field.

He would miss practice -- something he's loath to do -- and he felt that affected his play in games. And now, in May, with his knees and finger healed, Johnson talked briefly about the problems his injuries caused him last season.

"It bothered me enough to where I had to get [the right knee] drained every week," Johnson said Wednesday. "The finger, it was stuck at 90 degrees. It's good to have those things freed up right now."

Johnson has been practicing during OTAs, attempting to learn the Detroit Lions' new offense along with his teammates. He is able to participate fully because he can move and catch better.

He said he wouldn't have played last season (he missed two games) if he'd been unable to run, but that when he did play, there was pain. And missing practice was painful in itself.

"It hurts because one, you kind of lose your wind a little bit," Johnson said. "You know the plays but I feel you have to go out there and practice to be able to play at your best.

"I had experience in the offense, that's why I was able to go out there and still play. But I'm a firm believer in being out there during the week definitely improves your performance on Sundays."

The 28-year-old Johnson still managed 84 catches for 1,492 yards and 12 touchdowns in 14 games in 2013. It was Johnson's third straight season with at least that many receiving yards.