Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell joined 97.1 The Ticket on Tuesday morning to discuss the devastating news about C.J. Gardner-Johnson’s torn pectoral muscle that will keep him out for several months, if not the entire year.
Campbell noted that the Lions obviously knew about Gardner-Johnson’s injury during the game when he was pulled out of the game to get treatment. However, they didn’t know the severity of it until Monday night while doing some additional medical tests.
“We knew there was a little something there, but he was able to play with it,” Campbell said. “But you could tell he was restricted. So we got it checked out and got the results last night.”
While Campbell obviously feels bad for Gardner-Johnson, who signed a one-year, prove-it deal with Detroit this offseason, he noted he’ll have a chance to return this season. Additionally, the team has a lot of confidence in Tracy Walker, who will now step into the starting lineup.
“I hate it for (Gardner-Johnson). That’s tough, but we’ll see where this thing goes,” Campbell said. “There’s a chance he comes back this season. Listen, we’ve got Tracy, man. That’s why Tracy Walker’s here. He’s somebody that there’s a reason why we wanted to re-sign him, he was coming off injury, and it’s next man up. Here we go.”
Campbell did not seem nearly as optimistic about the chances for left tackle Taylor Decker to return this week after suffering an ankle injury in Week 1.
“There’s hope, but honestly I can’t say that (he’ll be back),” Campbell said. “Decker is still day-to-day, he is improving, but I can’t say that with a ton of confidence right now that I know we’ll have Decker back.”
The outlook looks similar for cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, whose rehab from his ACL tear was set back by a hamstring injury suffered in practice.
“I think he’s another one that, ah, I don’t feel a great about it, but we’ll see. He’s another guy that’s improving,” Campbell said.
Combine all of these injuries with the uncertain status of running back David Montgomery and starting right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai, and the Lions are looking like they’ll host the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday down several starters.
“We may be thin this game. We did, we got hit (with injuries),” Campbell said. “We’ve been pretty good up until this point in this part of the season and we got hit with the bug. We got hit with it last year early in the year, so we’ve got to weather this storm. It’s why we’ve got the guys that we have on this roster that we have at these positions. The reason why we have these guys on the vet squad ready to pull them up or put them on the roster.”