Running back David Johnson will undergo wrist surgery Thursday and is expected to be out until December, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, according to a source informed of the situation.
The 25-year-old got a second opinion on his wrist injury on Monday, which backed up the original diagnosis, as the team feared. The team announced on Tuesday that they placed Johnson on injured reserve. He could come off IR after missing at least eight weeks if rehab goes as planned.
Losing the dual-threat back is a major blow to an Arizona offense that struggled in the season opener. Johnson carried the Cards' offense last season, compiling 1,239 rushing yards on 293 carries with 16 touchdowns, to go along with 80 catches for 879 yards and four additional scores. As a mismatch nightmare for defenses, Johnson's absence will throw a monkey wrench into Carson Palmer's operation.
No single running back can replace what Johnson provided as a three-down force. In his absence, Arizona will likely turn to a committee. Kerwynn Williams is currently in line for early-down duties. Andre Ellington likely will see pass-catching snaps. And Elijhaa Penny could get the short-yardage plays. The Cards also signed D.J. Foster off the New England Patriots' practice squad on Monday and are also bringing back veteran Chris Johnson, Garafolo reported.
No running back means more to his offense than David Johnson does to Arizona's. Missing him possibly until December for the stretch run is a terrible start to the 2017 season. Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and Co. will try to stay in playoff striking range until they get their workhorse back. It won't be easy.