Calvin Johnson declined to address a Deadspin.com report that he's played most of the season with a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
"Man, y'all can ask me those questions on Thursday," Johnson said when approached in the locker room Tuesday.
Pressed on whether he at least has the injury, Johnson, who usually speaks with reporters on Thursdays, said, "You know I don't talk about that."
Johnson missed one game earlier this year and has been limited in practice most of the season by a right knee injury he suffered late in a September win against the Chicago Bears.
He played just 48 of a possible 85 offensive snaps in Sunday's overtime loss to the New York Giants, caught three passes for 43 yards and didn't appear like himself when he was on the field.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Johnson's injury will not require surgery after the season, but he left open the possibility that Johnson doesn't play in this week's season finale against the Minnesota Vikings.
"The injuries that he's working with aren't things that can be made worse, I guess you'd say, by going out in the game," Schwartz said. "His mobility and his speed were limited in the game, it made it very difficult for him to get away from coverage and things like that. But we'll see where he gets to this week. If he's available, he's a competitor I'm sure he'll want to be out there and if here's no medical reason to keep him out then we'll have him out there."
On Monday, Deadspin posted an email from a person who claimed his friend had reconstructive knee surgery from one of the Lions' team doctors and that doctor said Johnson had a partially torn PCL.
FAILURE NOT AN OPTION: One day after Schwartz refused to call this season a failure, players in the locker room backed him up and also refused to call the season a failure.
"I would not, I would not," guard Rob Sims said. "You've got to understand, playing offensive line we were looked as we weren't going to be able to do anything and we mowed through the season.
"In my opinion, it wasn't a complete failure. We learned a lot about ourselves and it takes time to win in this league. And that's something you just don't have. Sometimes you get lucky and you get a team that can get it done quick. Sometimes you don't and you've got to start all over again. So we'll see what happens."
Defensive end Israel Idonije also balked at calling the season a failure, but was obviously disappointed.
"I mean, look at the record," he said. "We don't see it as a success. Going into the season, with the talent that we have, we wouldn't have looked at where we are now as equal to where our talent is."
A.P. LAUDS LIONS' D: Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson praised the Lions' defense, especially the defensive front.
"Those guys, (Ndamukong) Suh and (Nick) Fairley and the young guy that came in this year (Ziggy Ansah) -- I can't pronounce his name right -- but their front is awesome, pretty outstanding," he told Detroit reporters in a conference call. "Pretty hard to block those guys man up.
"Both Suh and Fairley, you've got to double team those guys, and you can't do that. So with that you're going to have a mismatch the entire game."
Peterson also said the defense is even better than it was in the season-opener, when the Lions limited Peterson to 15 yards on 17 carries after his initial 78-yard touchdown run.
"Their third-down defense is excellent, getting guys off the field. And obviously the run game is good as well. But we are a better team as well, so its' going to be fun."
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