Cardinals running back Chris Johnson is done for the season but wants to play next year.
Their lockers sit only about 50 feet apart, but it was a wide gulf of emotions emanating from safety Tyvon Branch and running back Chris Johnson on Wednesday.
Branch is expected to be activated from injured reserve this week before the Cardinals host Washington, which would be his first time on the field since suffering a groin injury in Week 4 against the Rams.
"You know how you get a brand-new outfit for school, that first day, you're super excited to go?" Branch said. "That's how it is right now."
Branch's return, though, has signaled the end of Johnson's season. They suffered the same injury against Los Angeles and were placed on injured reserve the same day. They rehabilitated side-by-side for several weeks knowing only one was allowed to get activated.
"He just came up to me and said, 'Go out there, do your thing and hold it down for us,'" Branch said Johnson told him. "I would have said pretty much the same thing if it was the other way around."
Johnson, who had a resurgent 2015 with the Cardinals, ended up with only 25 carries for 95 yards this year as a backup to David Johnson, and said the season "definitely didn't go the way I wanted it to."
He turned down more lucrative contract offers this offseason to return to the Cardinals on a one-year deal.
"You can regret it, but it's life," Johnson said. "You never know what the situation is going to be until you actually go through it. Of course if I knew it was this situation -- everybody would change what they do if they could tell what the future is. But it's a situation where you can never go back. You just have to go with your decision."
Johnson, 31, is at a perilous age for a running back, but does not plan to retire. He said the lack of hits over the past two injury-plagued seasons has kept his body fresh and Johnson – who will be an unrestricted free agent -- believes he can be productive for a couple more years.
"I don't think it's the end of the road for me, just going off how my body feels, just going off the things that I was able to do when I did get in the game from training camp (forward) last year," Johnson said. "I know I've still got time left."
A TOUGH ROAD FOR JOHN BROWN
Sickle cell trait complications have again popped up for wide receiver John Brown, continuing a frustrating season. He missed practice on Wednesday after leaving Sunday's game early.
"We saw every specialist that we could see," coach Bruce Arians said. "He was fine, and then it just comes back."
Brown has just 31 catches for 399 yards and a touchdown this season as the disease has robbed him of explosiveness. The Cardinals' receiving woes have been the most surprising development this season and Brown's diminished production has played a large part.
"You take 1,000 yards out and about 50 explosive plays," Arians said. "It hurts a bunch."
PATRICK PETERSON DOESN'T PRACTICE
Cornerback Patrick Peterson didn't practice Wednesday after suffering a knee injury last week in Atlanta.
Neither did cornerback Justin Bethel (foot), tight end Jermaine Gresham (illness), Palmer (rest) nor wideout Larry Fitzgerald (rest), but Arians expects all of them back Thursday.
Wide receiver Michael Floyd (hamstring), linebacker Markus Golden (ankle), safety Tyrann Mathieu (shoulder) and defensive tackle Corey Peters (foot) were limited.
For Washington, tight end Jordan Reed (shoulder) and defensive end Anthony Lanier II (shin) didn't practice, while linebacker Terence Garvin (shoulder), defensive end Ricky jean Francois (knee), tackle Ty Nsekhe (ankle) and guard Brandon Scherff (ankle) were limited.
CARDINALS HOSTING TOY DRIVE BEFORE WASHINGTON GAME
The Cardinals and American Furniture Warehouse will host a toy drive before Sunday's game to benefit the Arizona Children's Association. Cardinals cheerleaders and volunteers will collect new, unwrapped toys and donations outside each stadium entrance.
Fans can also drop off toys at the two American Furniture Warehouse locations in the Valley -- one in Gilbert at 4700 S. Power Road, and the other in Glendale at 5801 N. 99th Ave. -- before Sunday's game.