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David Johnson Nears Clearance To Return

Wilks says running back will be full go by the start of OTAs


Cardinals running back David Johnson is about to be cleared from his 2017 wrist injury.

ORLANDO, Fla. – David Johnson's return to the field is coming, although it won't be as soon as the rest of the Cardinals.

The running back, who fractured his wrist in the season opener last year to end his season, should be back full-time by the time the Cards begin organized team activities May 15, coach Steve Wilks said Tuesday at the NFL league meetings at the J.W. Marriott Resort.

"He's in the process of getting cleared," Wilks said. "By the time we start OTAs, he should be ready to go. Very exciting time. He'll make a major difference."

The Cardinals' on-field work with the new coaching staff begins April 17 with a voluntary veterans minicamp. The Cardinals will also have Phase Two work – on-field but separate offense and defense – starting April 23.

Many of the expectations for the Cardinals' offense will be based on Johnson producing like he did in 2016, when he had more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 touchdowns.

"I hope so," Wilks said. "When you look at the injury and talk about a forearm, he had a year off with his legs, so hopefully he'll come back fresh. We're looking forward to it."

Johnson has been rehabbing at the team's Tempe facility, sometimes posting video of his progress.

"Wrist feeling better than ever" Johnson tweeted last week.

Wilks emphasized Tuesday he shares the football philosophy of many, having strong play at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. He is happy with the additions of new offensive linemen Justin Pugh and Andre Smith, and Johnson's recovery is at the centerpiece of it helping the offense.

"I believe, a defensive coach, that there is nothing more demoralizing – nothing more demoralizing – than having an offense run up and down the field," Wilks said. "This is a pass-happy league. Teams are going to get their passing yardage. But you've got to be able to run the ball on offense."

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