BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Eagles wide receiver Ronald Johnson left training camp on Monday during the team’s afternoon practice after suffering a dislocated and possibly fractured left ankle during a non-contact play.
Head trainer Rick Burkholder said Johnson will likely need surgery and had been taken by ambulance to Lehigh Valley Hospital for further evaluation.
“We tried to reduce it on the field,” Burkholder said of the dislocation. “He tried to reduce it himself, and it wouldn’t stay in. [Eagles team physician] Dr. Peter DeLuca was with us on the field, he tried to reduce it on the field, and it wouldn’t stay in. The reason it wouldn’t stay in is, we think, there’s a fracture on the outside.”
Johnson, in his second season, spent 15 games on the Eagles’ practice squad last year after being drafted in the sixth round by the 49ers in 2011 out of USC. He was called up to the active roster for the final game of the season after safety Kurt Coleman was placed on IR.
“I really like him,” Andy Reid said of Johnson. “He’s been coming on since we got him. He’s been improving every day. He’s worked out all off-season like a wild man, and you hate seeing that. He’s a great, great kid and a good player, too. He’s a phenomenal player. He really had a chance to do something with our football team. This is going to be a setback for him, but he’s a battler, and he’ll battle through it. It’s hard. That’s the toughest part about the game."
Johnson was not touched on the play, which occurred during the 7-on-7 drills. His foot got caught in the grass and his ankle turned in his route to catch a pass from Mike Kafka.
Play stopped for nearly 10 minutes as trainers attended to Johnson. He had an air cast put on his leg and was carted off the field.
While Johnson waited to be carted away, safety O.J. Atogwe stood by him and held his hand.
“Whenever someone’s down and out, you just want to show them some love and some mercy,” Atogwe said. “That’s a tough situation to be in. I’ve been there before. Just to have the support of your teammates can comfort you.”
DeSean Jackson had taken a liking to the young receiver during training camp and was upset to see him go down.
“That’s like a little brother to myself,” Jackson said. “I’ve been keeping him under my wing. I just pray for him to get better. I can just hear him saying this was gonna be his year and things like that. He has a lot of upside and a lot of talent.”
Fullback Stanley Havili, who played with Johnson for four years at USC, was devastated for his college teammate.
“Man, it’s just hard because he’s worked so hard this off-season,” Havili said. “He did a great job last year. He and I were on the practice squad. It’s a downer.”
Johnson is the second Eagles receiver to go down with an injury since camp began. Riley Cooper fractured his collarbone on Saturday and had successful surgery on it Monday at Methodist Hospital in Philadelphia. Dr. Gerald Williams, an orthopedic surgeon with the Rothman Institute, performed the surgery.
On Monday, the team worked out wide receiver Travis Cobb, a rookie free agent from Arizona.