But the 32-year-old has progressed well and could line up against the All Blacks at Twickenham on November 6 - adding to what Johnson sees as an improving group of players.
"Lewis is pretty good," Johnson said. "We anticipate him being fit for rugby [in time for the New Zealand game].
"I don't know if he will play this week, it's touch and go - but he will possibly play the week after.
"The team have been through some tough losses - a two-point defeat by the Grand Slam champions, and against Australia in Perth was disappointing because we didn't play as well as we can for the whole game.
"The Sydney win [England winning 21-20] came out of those times. We will have bumps on the road but that strength of spirit is coming now.
"We don't want to have to have a bad performance to spark a good one. We need consistency.
"We will need to be tough again because there will be defeats between now and the World Cup unless it goes brilliantly well.
"We need to keep reminding ourselves we can get confidence from good performances and if we do that the results should follow.
"You saw the improvement game-on-game in Australia. You have to play the best in the world if you want to challenge. The team is going in the right direction."