Syndication: Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Lions are getting two important pieces of their defense back in time for the playoffs, as safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson and defensive tackle Alim McNeill were activated from injured reserve. Both players will suit up for Week 18 and will be available for the postseason (barring an injury setback in the regular season finale against the Minnesota Vikings). 

Gardner-Johnson went down in Week 2 with a torn pectoral muscle and wasn't able to return for several months. His season appeared lost with the injury, but he worked his way back in time for the postseason. The Lions are planning on rotating Gardner-Johnson at safety with rookie Brian Branch and Ifeatu Melifonwu in Week 18 -- and possibly for the postseason. 

"I'm cool with it, but I mean, how can I say this? I don't want to sound like I'm selfish or an (expletive), but I ain't get back early to be in a rotation," Gardner-Johnson said, per "But I'm doing what I need to do as a team player to get my body going per se. But I've been ready for almost months."

Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn didn't appear to be too concerned about Gardner-Johnson's return.

"We know that player wants to go out there and play," Glenn said this week, via a team transcript. "I mean, even when he was down and he was hurt, he wanted to go play. That's just how he's wired. But he understands the process also. 

"So, obviously you have to talk to him and keep him at bay, but he gets it, he gets it. And when he gets his chance to go out there and play, he's going to do a good job for us."

McNeill missed four weeks with a knee sprain. He's second on the team in sacks (5.0) and is expected to slot back into his starting role.