Dan Campbell threw cold water on idea C.J. Gardner-Johnson will play again this season

C.J. Gardner-Johnson may think he can play again this season, but Lions head coach Dan Campbell has a more realistic view.
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday afternoon, in his personal frenzy after the Lions' comeback win over the Chicago Bears, defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson seemed to hint at when he could return from a torn pectoral. Injured back in Week 2 of course, he has hinted a few times that he intends to play again this season and he has occasionally been around the team as he rehabs.

I’ll be back,” Gardner-Johnson says. “Y’all got two weeks to get y’all sh*t together. Three weeks to get y’all’s sh*t together.”

It would surely be something if Gardner-Johnson played again this season, shy of the Lions making a very deep playoff run. Even the Super Bowl would only be about five months out from the injury, which would be a remarkable recovery. After surgery on a torn pectoral, the typical recovery timeline is 4-6 months and mid-January would be on the optimistic end. But optimism is fine, and there's something to the idea of trying to manifest an outcome.

Dan Campbell throws cold water on C.J. Gardner-Johnson playing again this season

During his press conference on Monday, Lions head coach Dan Campbell was told about Gardner-Johnson going to social media to suggest he could return in a few weeks.

"I want to talk to the doctor he’s talking to. "No, listen, Ducey is — he’s an upbeat, positive, hard-working, like will himself to (get better), and that’s what we love about him," Campbell said. "I don’t foresee that, but yet man, I’m not going to (rule it out). Never say never. I’m not going to do that. He may have mutant genes, he’s like Wolverine, there’s no telling. But believe me, that would be unbelievable, but I just, I think it’ll be hard but you never know."

But, via Kyle Meinke of MLive, what about the playoffs, which begin on Jan. 13?

“I don’t know. We’ll just have to see. I think that timeline would be a very, very fast recovery, but I love where his head’s at. You got to think that way, and you got to be positive, because that leads to quicker healing.”

It's possible, but patently unlikely, Gardner-Johnson plays again this season. Campbell is not willing to totally rule it out, but he did offer a more realistic view of the situation than a player who is bound and determined to play ever would.


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