The Detroit Lions defense has struggled recently, allowing at least 26 points per game since Week 7.

They’ve also given up 24.2 points per game this season, which ranks 25th in the league.

However, Detroit will be a little healthier in the final month of the season, as one of their starting defensive backs is expected to return.

According to the 33rd Team’s Ari Meirov, veteran safety C.J. Gardner Johnson has reportedly been medically cleared to return from a torn pectoral injury suffered in Week 2 and could be designated to return to the team next week.

Gardner-Johnson was a big free agent acquisition for Detroit this offseason, and he was expected to play a key role in the Lions’ defensive plans.

During his one-year stint with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022, he led the NFL with six interceptions and broke up eight other passes with 67 combined tackles.

Gardner-Johnson had 13 tackles and two passes defended in the Lions’ first two games this season, but suffered a torn pectoral injury in the Lions’ 37-31 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 19 and was placed on injured reserve two days later.

Since taking over for Gardner-Johnson in Week 3, rookie Brian Branch has had one interception and six passes defended.

While the Lions haven’t looked as good as they did early in the season, Detroit still leads the NFC North with a 9-4 record and a clear path to the playoffs.

Having Gardner-Johnson back sooner rather than later will undoubtedly help, particularly in the secondary.

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