C.J. Gardner-Johnson ‘close’ to playing against Dallas per Dan Campbell

USA Today

After winning two games in a row in impressive fashion and sewing up the NFC North division title, the Detroit Lions could be getting even better for the playoff push. Safety and emotional spark plug C.J. Gardner-Johnson could be back in the lineup for the Week 17 matchup with the Cowboys in Dallas on Saturday night.

Gardner-Johnson has been out since tearing a pectoral muscle in Week 2. The veteran has been designated to return and was at practice last week, but wasn’t quite ready for action. Head coach Dan Campbell was more optimistic about “Ceedy Duce” being ready for Saturday’s big game.

“C.J.’s close. He’s close,” Campbell told 97.1 The Ticket in his weekly interview. “We’ve got to decide what we’re going to do there and just how close is ‘close.’”

As for what happens to Ifeatu Melifonwu when Gardner-Johnson returns? It’s a great problem to have, according to Campbell. Melifonwu has been fantastic in the last two games, racking up 14 tackles, three sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble after having 50 tackles and one-half of a sack over his first 30 games with the Lions.

“We’re going to have a good problem to have when ‘Ducey’ comes back here. It just brings another playmaker to the mix,” Campbell said.

Editor’s note: Gardner-Johnson has legally changed his name to Ceedy Duce, but the Lions and the NFL officially still list him with his old name. Until the team makes the change, we are obligated to refer to the player by the name officially listed. 

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