Eagles' Lane Johnson on playing with injury: 'I'll make it work'

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Johnson on playing with injury: 'I'll make it work' originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Lane Johnson really believes he can do this. And Friday made him more confident than ever.

Johnson said he’s encouraged by his progress after suffering a torn groin muscle during the second Eagles-Cowboys game and believes he’s on target to play when the Eagles open up in the postseason next weekend.

He’ll need surgery once the season is over — that procedure will be performed by noted Philadelphia-based core muscle surgeon William Meyers.

But for now?

He’s just thinking about football.

Johnson sat out practice Thursday but was on the field Friday for the first time since getting hurt.

The real test will come next week when practice ramps up, but so far, so good.

“Excited about today being back out there practicing,” Johnson said. “Felt good. The goal was to keep testing it and progressing. Made a lot of progress this week and trying to have a regular week next week and see how I feel.”

Wednesday will likely be a walkthrough, so the big test comes Thursday, when Johnson will get bull rushed at full speed by the Eagles’ edge rushers.

“Trying to have an intense practice Thursday and try to mimic what it’s going to be (with) a few reps game-speed,” he said. “And that’s going to be without any help from painkillers or anything like that.

“Today didn’t feel too much pain. Just want to go out there where I can help my team and not hurt my team.”

Johnson is one of the best tackles in the business.

On Friday, he made his second all-pro 1st team along with long-time teammate Jason Kelce. He hasn’t allowed a sack since the middle of 2020 and hasn’t allowed a quarterback hit since early in 2021.

Johnson is one of only four Super Bowl starters from 2017 still with the Eagles, along with Kelce, Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox.

So he knows the importance of taking advantage of these opportunities when you get them.

“It’s real important to me (to try and play), especially when there’s few times when you’re on a team that has a chance to win it all,” Johnson said. “I could see that throughout the season.

“The timing of the injury wasn’t great, but the only reason I’m coming back is because I think we have a chance to be something special. That’s my reason.”

Johnson got hurt on Dec. 24, and the Eagles open in the playoffs on Jan. 21 or 22 against the lowest remaining NFC seed after this weekend’s games.

That’s a month. With surgery, rehab takes eight weeks.

So it comes down to toughing it out. And nobody is tougher than Johnson.

“The rest definitely helped, but it’s all about the rehab process and how you attack that,” he said. “So I’ve been doing that for the past three weeks and today going out there and not feeling a whole lot of pain was good, so it’s encouraging for me. It gives me a lot more confidence going into next week.”

“Mentally, if you go out there and practice and you’re not feeling as much pain and the rehab process has been attacked right, you can go into the game a lot more confident rather than relying on a whole lot of outside help (painkillers).”

Johnson isn’t the only reason the offense sputtered in the Saints and Giants games. But the Eagles are just a different team with Jack Driscoll at right tackle.

They averaged 30.9 points and 397 yards and gave up 2.3 sacks per game with Johnson and 16.0 points and 328 yards while allowing 4 ½ sacks without him.

“I’m confident,” Johnson said. “We’ve rehabbed real well. Today was good and looking forward to next week.

“It’s just one of those things you’ve got to bandage up and just go out and play. It’s very common among hockey players. It’s a little different in the trenches. But I’ll make it work.”