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WR Johnson slowed by high-ankle sprain

12/18/2013

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Undrafted rookie receiver Darius Johnson has been a surprise contributor for the Atlanta Falcons all year, but it's uncertain whether he'll make it to the end of the season.

Johnson suffered a high-ankle sprain in Sunday's 27-26 win over the Washington Redskins. He didn't practice Wednesday, although the Falcons are not required to release an injury report as they prepare for a Monday night matchup with the San Francisco 49ers.

Johnson injured his left ankle early against the Redskins yet still managed to play 29 snaps. However, he might want to proceed with caution over the last two games based on what happened with one of his fellow receivers.

Remember, Roddy White endured a high-ankle sprain in the preseason and admitted he should have rested to start the regular season rather than play through the pain.

"Take your time, partner,'' White said of his advice to Johnson. "You know, get it right. We've got a couple games left this season. So, he needs to get himself as healthy as possible before he goes out there and play.''

Johnson started the season on the practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster, in part, because White was inactive for Week 7 coming off a hamstring strain and the high-ankle sprain.

Johnson caught two passes in his first NFL action against Tampa Bay. For the season, he has 21 catches for 206 yards and a touchdown.

As the Falcons continue to build toward the future, Johnson seems to have made enough of an impression to be on the 2014 roster. Then again, the return of Julio Jones from foot surgery and the return of White to full strength means Johnson might not get as many opportunities if he remains in Atlanta.

Johnson, who signed a three-year, minimum-salary contract, also has made an impression on special teams, which is sure to help his cause. Plus he has support from veterans such as White.

"He's always even; nothing gets too high and nothing gets too low,'' White said of Johnson. "He's just always middle of the ground. My first year in the league, I was so up and down and so emotional, letting this game get the best of me. He doesn't do that.''

White believes Johnson should be here to stay.

"I hope so,'' White said. "He's a good player, man. He's made a lot of big plays for us this year. And I'm hoping next year, he'll be here.''