Davey Johnson left the Nationals dugout in the seventh inning of today's 5-1 win over the Phillies after losing feeling in his left leg, a sensation doctors attributed to a lower back problem, but one the 69-year-old manager insists won't prevent him from performing his usual duties during the postseason.
"I'm OK, nothing wrong with me," Johnson said after the game. "About the third inning of the game, I started losing all the feeling in my left leg. Just numb. About the seventh inning, it didn't let up."
Johnson said he received treatment that included a muscle relaxer, aspirin and anti-inflammatory medication. Team doctor Wiemi Douoguih gave Johnson five X-rays and diagnosed a nerve problem in the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae in the lower back.
Johnson expects to receive an injection in the area when the swelling goes down.
"Douoguih thinks I'll be better when I get on this medication," said Johnson, who was walking around after the game, though a bit slower than usual. "But I just didn't want to embarrass myself if my leg gave out. Didn't feel that was a good idea."
Johnson's absence from the dugout was first noticed when bench coach Randy Knorr walked out to the mound in the seventh inning to make a pitching change.
"I thought he just didn't want to manage; he was tired of managing," Ryan Zimmerman said with a laugh. "Everyone else got a day off, yesterday or today, so I thought he was taking one."
Johnson, the oldest manager in the majors, has described himself in good physical shape since taking the job with the Nationals last summer. He did deal with multiple health scares during his 10-year absence from the big leagues, including a ruptured appendix in 2004 and heart surgery in early 2011.