An MRI on Detroit Lions defensive back CJ Gardner Johnson’s right knee showed no structural damage, and he is considered day-to-day, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates on Monday.
Gardner-Johnson was taken off the practice field with the injury Monday after he was injured during a team drill in which there appeared to be light contact. He couldn’t put pressure on his right leg as the trainers helped him to his feet.
Gardner-Johnson’s teammates were in shock immediately after the injury.
“It’s hard to watch your brothers go down. You never want to see it, especially early in camp or really on any day, no matter the position or the player,” cornerback Cameron Sutton told ESPN after practice. “It’s a bit hard to detail. All you can do is send prayers.”
Quarterback Jared Goff and several teammates went to check on him. Gardner-Johnson was visibly emotional after the play, as he pointed near the top of his right leg at the coaches as he lay on the practice field. After practice, team members were quick to send messages of encouragement as they waited to hear the official status of the injury.
“When I went there, I think he said somebody stepped on it, but I didn’t see it. I just saw him go down and I saw him grab it. I also went through that, where I grabbed mine,” cornerback Jerry Jacobs said. “I’m not saying I know what it is, but I’m just praying it’s nothing like [an ACL]. Seeing a guy like that with great energy and a great attitude to turn the room around. S— it’s so sad. I’m going to go in and see how he is. But it’s sad because he’s a great guy.”
The Lions signed him as their top free agent for a major secondary upgrade. He agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $8 million in March.
Last season with the Philadelphia Eagles, Gardner-Johnson finished tied for the most interceptions in the NFL (six) despite missing five games with a lacerated kidney. He became the only Eagles player since the 1970 merger to record interceptions in five straight games.
“You hate when people fall, especially without pads on, it’s camp. We haven’t even played a game,” linebacker James Houston told ESPN. “So first, I’m praying for him, and I think the whole team is praying for him and we just hope he’s okay.
“You can’t let things like that get to you. The show must go on,” he continued. “Someone else has to come in and fill in and we have to be able to keep up. Obviously, yeah, it sucks, because that’s your home guy, that’s your teammate. I’ve known him a long time, so I’ll definitely be praying for him.”