clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Lions hope to return C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Alim McNeill for Vikings game

Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell updated the media of the current injuries on the roster heading into Week 18.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

As is typical on Mondays, Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell updated the media on a few of the current injuries on the roster, including projecting the futures of a couple of players currently on injured reserve.

Let’s take a look at the notable names discussed.

C.J. Gardner-Johnson

Gardner-Johnson is still on injured reserve but has been in the injury evaluation for two weeks, and a decision is looming on his future status. The Lions have a little over a week to make a decision if he is healthy enough to return to the active roster or if he will have to stay on injured reserve, thus ending his season.

When asked if Gardner-Johnson would return for this weekend’s game, Campbell indicated that was the team’s desire:

“We’d love to. Love to get C.J. involved,” Campbell said.

Gardner-Johnson continues to insist on social media that he is close to returning and it would make a lot of sense to find a way to get him on the field ahead of the regular season finale so he can acclimate before the playoffs.

Alim McNeill

While responding to a question about Gardner-Johnson, Campbell unpromptedly brought up McNeill as another player who could be potentially this weekend.

“Love to get Mac (Alim McNeill) involved,” Campbell added. Later noting that, “It’s Monday, but that’s what's tentatively in my head.”

McNeill has been on injured reserve for the last four weeks, and while he is eligible to open his injury evaluation window this week, he has yet to step on the practice field in a month, so there is still a bit of an unknown. Still, based on how McNeill has been trending over the last few weeks, Campbell remains optimistic that McNeill will be ready for this weekend’s game.

“I think there’s a shot (McNeill plays), yeah I do,” Campbell reiterated.

Jameson Williams

Williams injured his ankle against the Cowboys on a 63-yard reception in the second half and was unable to return to the game. Williams looked in good spirits on the sideline—but that’s typical—and Campbell noted that his injury was not considered long-term.

“He’s doing alright,” Campbell said of Williams. “I mean, he’s got a little bit of an ankle (injury), but it’ll be day-to-day right now. But nothing significant.”

With this weekend’s game against the Vikings potentially not impacting playoff seeding, the Lions may opt to take it slow with Williams in order to ensure he is ready for the postseason. At the same time, Campbell also said the Lions plan to play their starters, so don’t rule Williams out just yet.

Sam LaPorta

LaPorta was seen limping at the end of the game in Dallas, but Campbell indicated that it was a non-issue.

“He’s good. He’s good,” Campbell assured the media.

Jason Cabinda

Yes, Cabinda was technically released from the Lions roster after being activated from injured reserve over the weekend, but that move appears to only be temporary. While discussing Gardner-Johnson and McNeill, Campbell also let it be known that he was hoping to get Cabinda involved in this weekend’s game.

When Campbell was asked to clarify if he anticipated re-signing Cabinda, Campbell responded:

“I hope.”

If the Lions plan on returning Cabinda, Gardner-Johnson, and McNeill this week, that would mean we could see a lot of roster movement. Add in the fact that James Houston is also in the injury evaluation window, and the Lions may need to make as many as four roster transactions ahead of Sunday’s game.

Subscribe to PODD

After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.