Megatron wants in on Lions’ defense while resting ankle

Safety Glover Quin said he thought Calvin Johnson would fit in their defense as a cornerback.

Bruce Kluckhohn

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Standing on the sideline having to watch last Sunday’s victory at Minnesota apparently left Calvin Johnson time to do a little fantasizing.

Megatron saw the Detroit Lions’ defense dominate the game with eight sacks, and he’d like to join in on the fun.

"I want to get out there and play some D-end and see if I can get a sack," Johnson said, jokingly, before missing Wednesday’s practice with a lingering high-ankle sprain.

Johnson has stepped in as a defensive back in a Hail Mary situation in the past, but playing on the D-line and rushing the passer would be another story.

Safety Glover Quin said he thought Johnson would fit in much better for their defense as a cornerback.

"Calvin Island," Quin said, smiling.

Coach Jim Caldwell, however, wouldn’t rule anything out when it comes to his 6-foot-5, 236-pound star athlete.

"We’re talking about Superman," Caldwell said.

These days, he’s Superman with a limp.

Before he can become Mega-sacks, Johnson needs to get healthy enough just to return to doing what he does best as the game’s premiere receiver.

There has been speculation that he could also miss the next two games — Sunday against New Orleans and the following week against Atlanta in London.

If he did that, Johnson would end up resting the ankle for a full month because the Lions have a bye week after returning from the London trip.

"It’s no fun being on the field if I can’t go out there and do what I’ve got to do and do it to a high level," Johnson said. "There’s a bigger picture. You want to be smart about it because if you go out there and you do this again, you put yourself down for even longer.

"It’s just trying to be smart so we can manage this thing and finish the season strong."

Nevertheless, Johnson didn’t rule out the possibility that he could be back as early as this Sunday.

He said he’s doing strengthening exercises for the ankle on a daily basis and will be back on the practice field as soon as possible.

The rest is helping.

"Not beating it up, not going out there and rolling it, definitely helps you," Johnson said. "The more you can stay off that particular area, the faster it will heal."

He admitted that there’s still some pain in the ankle, which he originally injured late in the Green Bay game on September 21 before reinjuring it two weeks later early in the second half in a loss to Buffalo.

Johnson tried to play over the injury for two games, but he was limited to more of a decoy role while catching only three passes for 19 yards.

The Lions finally decided last week that it would be best to keep him out for at least a game, if not longer.

Johnson said he "wouldn’t be surprised" if the team took the same approach with him again this week.

Getting the road victory in Minnesota to stay in a tie for first place in the NFC North with a 4-2 record could make the decision to sit him for another game a little easier.

"It’s great that the team’s winning," Johnson said. "I guess you could say there’s a little less stress."

And when can we expect him back for a game?

"When I feel great," Johnson said, "I’ll be out there.