The Detroit Lions have missed the presence of safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson throughout his absence.
Suffering a torn pec in Week 2, Gardner-Johnson has been sidelined for the last eight games.
The injury was initially given a season-ending prognosis, with a slight chance at a return for the playoffs. However, the outspoken defensive back has remained an active presence despite not being on the field.
Gardner-Johnson has been actively promoting his return on social media, posting updates on his health and interacting with teammates. On Sunday, he proclaimed during a live video that he was drawing closer to a return, possibly in two or three weeks.
While Dan Campbell praised the defender's attitude toward his recovery, he was more skeptical about Gardner-Johnson getting back in action.
"I want to the doctor he's talking to then. Listen, Deucy, he's an upbeat, positive, hard-working, will himself to — That's what we love about him," Campbell said Monday. "I don't foresee that, but never say never. I'm not gonna do that. He may have mutant genes, he's like Wolverine. There's no telling. That would be unbelievable. I think that would be hard, but you never know."
Gardner-Johnson quickly became a commanding voice upon signing with the Lions and reinvigorated the secondary with his swagger.
While Detroit is undoubtedly anticipating his return, Campbell didn't share the same optimism that the player had. However, he admitted that the sense of positivity can aid the recovery process.
"I don't know, we'll just have to see. That timeline's a matter of, it would be a very fast recovery," Campbell explained. "But, I love where his head's at. You've got to think that way, you've got to be positive. I think it leads to quicker healing if you allow yourself to think that way."
Estimated practice report
The Lions will hold a walk-through Monday evening and released an estimated practice report.
Left guard Jonah Jackson was the only player listed as out, while Frank Ragnow, Isaiah Buggs and Ifeatu Melifonwu were all listed as full participants.
Detroit's third-year head coach indicated the team is still hopeful Jackson can suit up this week and will be participating in the evening walk-through.
Lions walk-through Monday. Practice report pic.twitter.com/xgiPvrnD3n— DetroitSportsPodcast (@DetroitPodcast) November 20, 2023