Mid-Day Report: Johnson Taking Latest Injury Hard

OXNARD, Calif. – Matt Johnson can't seem to catch a break.

It's been a tough couple years for the 2012 fourth-round pick, whose injuries haven't allowed him to play in a regular season game yet. The latest is another hamstring injury that has his contemplating what else he can possibly do to stay healthy.

"I talked to my brother and stuff, and I had like a pity party yesterday," Johnson said. "I can't do that, because it's not going to solve anything, but I just don't know. I've done everything I could – stay late, get here early, rehab it – I've done more in the month off we had than I ever had in my life."

Johnson hurt the hamstring during a pursuit drill, and he said it felt really good while warming up and thought he could give it 100 percent in the drill. It was frustrating for Johnson to see that he couldn't, to say the least.

He said he got an MRI and the trainers would call back if the injury was really bad. It's a good sign he never got that call, but there's currently no specific timeframe for him.

Johnson said the worst part is he can't be on the field working with his teammates and friends, standing with them on the sideline working hard and being gassed as a team. He said just watching practice and not being involved is the hardest thing about the injury, and hamstring issues are particularly frustrating.

"Personally I feel like muscle stuff, pulls are on me," he said. "If you tear an ACL, break a foot, something like that, freak things happen in football. That's why this is so frustrating, because anybody could pull a hamstring, and I'm the only one that's really pulling them. That's why I'm taking it so hard. I've done, I don't know if anybody's got anymore suggestions on what I could do, but I've tried everything. So I don't know."

Head coach Jason Garrett said Johnson would probably be out at least a week, but he didn't anticipate this hamstring injury being particularly bad. It was unfortunate after what Garrett said was a really good offseason and start to camp for Johnson, and Garrett added that Johnson has to know he'll get a chance when he comes back.

"He's as conscientious a player as I've ever been around," Garrett said. "He's very in tuned to getting himself right. Unfortunately he's just had to deal with these things."

In addition to Johnson, linebacker DeVonte Holloman and defensive tackle Terrell McClain also left practice Sunday and didn't return but were at the walkthrough Tuesday morning. That said, McClain is still day-to-day with his ankle injury, and Garrett said it could take about a week for his return. [embedded_ad]

Here are some other highlights from the morning walkthrough and Garrett's Tuesday press conference:

  • There will be competitive two-minute situations at today's afternoon practice, but Garrett said not to expect Tony Romo to be a part of them. He said Romo won't do anything today at the afternoon practice because it's a two-a-day, and he added there wasn't any setback. Garrett said the biggest thing he needs is honest feedback about how Romo's doing, and Garrett feels even a little time off can be really valuable.
  • The head coach said he believes Romo is doing fine and will gradually get more work as he goes along. The focus is on getting him ready for the 49ers in September, Garrett said the starting quarterback is on pace to be ready for that.
  • Jeff Heath hurt his hand in Sunday's practice and returned with it heavily wrapped. He expects to practice with a small cast on the hand after getting it caught between helmets. 
  • Executive vice president Stephen Jones said both Ronald Leary and Ben Gardner are close to a return. He said that return may not be today, but they're close.
  • Garrett initially said Tuesday would be the likely return point for Ronald Leary off his hamstring injury, but that doesn't sound likely today. Still, Garrett said he anticipates Leary back within the next week.
  • Garrett touted the versatility of Kyle Wilber, who "comes in as the incumbent starter at Sam." Garrett said the linebacker's also valuable on teams and as a nickel defensive end rusher.
  • Henry Melton's hard to miss during individual drills, as the defensive tackle doesn't look like the typical player coming off ACL surgery. Garrett said he sees flashes from Melton and he's getting confident making the natural movements all football players need when returning from an injury.
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