Before we deal with the possibly serious injury news from training camp today, we have a question of semantics to debate.

At what point is a player considered to have been “carted off the field”? Those four words send immediate shivers down the back of football fans when written in any context, whether it’s a Sunday afternoon casualty, or an unfortunate injury during OTAs in March.

But is this a picture of a player being carted off the field?

Yes, Houston Texans Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson is technically and physically in a cart, and said cart is traveling away from the field of play. But he’s seated shotgun, and he’s sitting relatively comfortably and away from the football deathbed behind him. So can we really say that Johnson was carted off the field, as the Houston Chronicle‘s photo caption reads?

These are the kinds of things that we think about. I will be sleep-deprived tonight while trying to resolve this matter.

Johnson left the Texans practice field after he dislocated his finger during one-on-one drills today. While even the most minor injury to a player who had 1,216 receiving yards last year can be downright petrifying, don’t let that nasty cart fool you.

Or at least not yet. You’re free to unleash a full panic attack when Johnson’s finger is examined, but when head coach Gary Kubiak is talking about his stud receiver returning for the afternoon practice session, there’s reason to resume normal breathing.

From CBS Sports:

“He dislocated his finger in a one-on-one drill this morning and we’re getting it looked at, so hopefully he’s back here this afternoon,” Kubiak said at the post-practice press conference. “We’ll have to wait and see.  I wasn’t at the drill so I just got the information.

“I have a big lump in my throat like everybody else, but hopefully he’ll be fine.”

Murky information indeed, but still hopeful.

The news is equally uncertain in Detroit regarding rookie first-round pick Nick Fairley and the foot injury he suffered Monday. Our medical degrees don’t exist, so it’s difficult to judge the foggy injury reports that will begin slowly–or quickly–rolling in from the league’s 32 training camp outposts. But even though X-rays came back negative, we’re pretty sure walking boots are bad news.

Chris McCosky of the Detroit News says there’s a high level of concern around the Lions camp regarding Fairley, who was on the sidelines today with his left foot in that dreaded walking boot. Head coach Jim Schwartz offered little when asked about the severity of the injury.

“We are still doing some tests,” Schwartz said. “We are having a lot of different people looking at it. He’s down for now.”

When asked if he’d term it a long-term or short-term injury, Schwartz said, “I really can’t say right now.”

Selected with the 13th overall pick last April, Fairley is set to form a formidable pass-rushing tandem opposite second-year defensive end Ndamukong Suh, who had 10 sacks in 2010 and was named the defensive rookie of the year.

Offensively, a healthy Matthew Stafford is returning, and Calvin Johnson will continue to be the beastly Megatron while Jahvid Best matures in the backfield. Combine promising youth with sheer talent, and even Vegas is finally jumping on board with the Lions, a team that’s only won eight games over the last three years.

Many believe the future has finally and mercifully arrived in Detroit. If a key piece of that future is sidelined for a significant length of time with a major injury it’ll be devastating in the locker room, and for the dedicated yet frustrated fanbase.

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