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David Johnson: Nobody knows if I will return in 2017

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson is one of the top NFL players at any position
Courtesy of USA Today Images

The Arizona Cardinals have missed star running back David Johnson for most of the 2017 season, and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to return.

According to Bob McManaman of The Arizona Republic, Johnson said he’s staying optimistic but wants his left wrist to be 100-percent healthy and cannot be certain if that’s feasible.

“I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen. I still have this cast on, so who knows? No one knows. We’ll see.”

Johnson’s statement echoes what head coach Bruce Arians recently said about his running back’s outlook. Given the team’s struggles in 2017, it might not be worth bringing Johnson back out, either.

Leaving the bye week, Arizona is 3-4 this season. The Cardinals have a winnable game in Week 9 against the San Francisco 49ers, but the schedule stiffens dramatically after that NFC West tilt. Six of the other eight games are against clubs contending for a division crown.

And Arizona will be without quarterback Carson Palmer, in addition to Johnson, during the closing stretch. Drew Stanton will be under center, and that — at least from an outside perspective — doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.

Johnson, who has been sidelined since Week 1 and is still in a cast, need not rush his recovery because the Cardinals likely won’t even be on the periphery of the playoff discussion in the near future.

Arizona fans, if they haven’t already, should expect Adrian Peterson to serve as the lead runner for the remainder of 2017 before Johnson is back next season.