Lions' Johnson wants to return fully healed

Allen Park — Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson still doesn't know when he'll return from a high-ankle sprain that has kept him out of the past game and a half.

If Johnson has his way, he won't return until he's 100 percent.

"There's no point in being on the field if I can't go out there and do what I've got to do and do it to a high level that I'm used to doing it at," he said Wednesday.

Johnson's right ankle has been a problem since Week 3 and could keep him out for the Week 7 matchup against the New Orleans Saints. He hasn't done any on-field work since aggravating the injury in Week 5 against the Bills — a game in which he sat the second half — and has been doing mostly ankle strengthening and balance exercises.

Johnson also said he still feels pain in the ankle despite not testing it on the field.

Despite dealing with knee and finger injuries in 2013 and the ankle now, the 29-year-old said he's not yet worried about his long-term health. Instead, he's focused on improving the ankle now so he can stay on the field whenever he does return.

"It's the bigger picture," Johnson said. "You want to be smart about it because if you go out there and you do this again, then you put yourself down for even longer. Like I said, it's just trying to be smart so we can manage the thing and finish the season strong."

Johnson said it wouldn't surprise him if the coaches and medical staff hold him out again this week. At this point, there's a chance he'll sit the next two games, including Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons in London, to give his ankle a full month to recover. Johnson last played Oct. 5 against the Buffalo Bills, and With a bye week after the Falcons game, the Lions don't play again until a Nov. 9 matchup with the Miami Dolphins.

Even if Johnson doesn't play against Atlanta, he has every intention of making the trip to London, saying, "I very seriously doubt that" he would stay back for treatment.

"The more and more we can stay off that particular area, the faster it'll heal," he said.

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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