Turns out Lane Johnson’s “day-to-day” injury was a little more serious than the Eagles let on.
When Johnson missed practice on Aug. 23, Doug Pederson said he was “day-to-day” with what the team described as a “lower-body” injury.
Johnson wound up not practicing for 17 days before returning on a limited basis on Wednesday. He was also listed as limited on Thursday and was out at practice again on Friday.
Now we know why.
ESPN’s Tim McManus reported Friday that Johnson actually underwent ankle surgery during his layoff. McManus described the procedure as a “clean-out,” which generally indicates a scope.
It’s not clear whether the injury is related to the ankle injury that sidelined Johnson for the last five games of last season, including the wild-card game against the Seahawks.
Doug Pederson has been vague about injury information this preseason and when asked about Johnson’s layoff on Aug. 29 said he wasn’t concerned about him: “No, he’s doing fine. He’s still day-to-day.”
There are no rules about this thing during the preseason, but day-to-day doesn't generally mean a guy had ankle surgery.
Pederson on Wednesday did acknowledge for the first time that there was a chance Johnson's availability for the opener Sunday in Washington was in question.
“We'll see where he's at at the end of the week, but he's doing well,” Pederson said. “Lane is a valuable piece to our offensive line. But yet we've got to prepare everybody if Lane is not available, we've got to get our young guys ready to go.”
If Johnson is unable to play Sunday, the Eagles could either use Jordan Mailata or Jack Driscoll in his place or move Matt Pryor to right tackle and use either Nate Herbig or Driscoll at right guard. That's assuming Pryor starts at right guard, which Pederson hasn't confirmed yet.
The Eagles are already without starting offensive linemen Andre Dillard and Brandon Brooks, Dillard for the entire season and Brooks for at minimum most of the season.
Johnson has a history of ankle injuries.
Johnson played in 2018 with a sprained MCL and a high ankle sprain, although he only missed one game, before missing five games last year.