Is C.J. Gardner-Johnson playing this week? Latest Week 16 injury updates for Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings

Here's the latest injury news for Detroit Lions defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson heading into Week 16 against the Minnesota Vikings.

C.J. Gardner-Johnson didn't make it through two games as a Detroit Lion without being injured, and he played most of that game with a torn pectoral. The idea he could return and play before the season was over has lingered, with multiple teases from the man himself.

On Nov. 30, Gardner-Johnson tabbed Dec. 20 as his return date. As in, a return to practice, before the Lions played the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16. That happened, after he was medically cleared last week. It also happened to be his birthday on Wednesday.

C.J. Gardner-Johnson injury status for Week 16 vs. Minnesota Vikings

As mentioned, Gardner-Johnson was listed as a limited participant in Wednesday's practice. As for if he'll play on Sunday against Vikings? Gardner-Johnson had the brief, obvious answer when he held court with reporters on Wednesday.

"To be determined."

On Thursday, Gardner-Johnson was a limited participant in practice again.

During his press conference on Friday, Dan Campbell said it's unlikely Gardner-Johnson plays against the Vikings on Sunday.

Update: Gardner-Johnson was officially ruled out on Friday’s injury report.

C.J. Gardner-Johnson injury history

  • Sept. 2021: Grade 1 Knee Strain-Missed Week 2
  • Nov. 2022: Abdomen (Lacerated Kidney)-Missed 5 games
  • Sept. 2023: Grade 3 Torn Pectoral-Missed 13 games (and counting?)

Who would replace C.J. Garnder-Johnson the lineup?

After Gardner-Johnson was injured, Tracy Walker stepped in as the starting safety alongside Kerby Joseph. The last two games, Ifeatu Melifonwu has started and played very well. If Gardner-Johnson remains out in Week 16, Melifonwu will continue to start.

When is C.J. Gardner-Johnson coming back?

Week 16 against the Vikings feels possible for Gardner-Johnson to play. If he doesn't play, Week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys feels like a practical lock for his return to action.

Detroit Lions next two opponents

  • Dallas Cowboys, Saturday, Dec. 30, 8:15 p.m. ET
  • Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, TBD

Detroit Lions injury report

  • CB Jerry Jacobs (ankle)
  • TE Brock Wright (hip)
  • LB Derrick Barnes (shoulder)
  • DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson (pectoral
  • FB Jason Cabinda (knee)
  • DT Levi Onwuzurike (knee)
  • OT Penei Sewell (shoulder)
  • C Frank Ragnow (knee/back/toe)

Minnesota Vikings injury report

  • DT Jonathan Bullard (ankle)
  • DT Sheldon Day (ankle)
  • LB Jordan Hicks (shin)
  • RB Alexander Mattison (knee)
  • CB Byron Murphy Jr. (hamstring)
  • DE Danielle Hunter (illness)
  • OT Brian O'Neill (ankle)
  • DT Harrison Phillips (back)
  • WR Jalen Nailor (concussion)

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