It seemed almost a relief when Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said earlier this week the injury Trevor Lawrence suffered in the Monday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals is a high ankle sprain.
That suggested Lawrence wouldn’t be out for the remainder of the year but would definitely miss some time, probably significant time measured by weeks.
And then Lawrence showed up on the practice field on Thursday and the team reported he participated in drills on a limited basis.
Trevor Lawrence Has A Low Sprain
OutKick contributor Dr. David Chao believes there’s a likely explanation:
“Doug Pederson subsequently said high ankle, which by the way, I’m not calling Doug Pederson a liar,” Dr. Chao said. “But by video, I don’t agree with that. Doug is a lay person. Maybe there’s some misinterpretation. Maybe there’s some coach speak where they’re speaking to the [upcoming opponent Cleveland] Browns. I don’t know. That’s a coach’s prerogative and job.
“I believe it’s a low ankle sprain which gives him a better chance to play … I’m not saying the Jacksonville Jaguars doctors are wrong. I’m saying the public information that’s being handed out might be misinterpreted or be misleading. There’s no way the doctors there don’t know exactly what it is. But you know often what comes out of the head coach’s mouth is not exactly what the doctors said, whether it’s by accident or coach speak.”
Dr. Chao believes Lawrence has an inversion ankle sprain. Translation?
Low ankle sprain.
Some proof? When Lawrence talked to reporters on Wednesday, he was no longer on crutches. He was not wearing the boot trainers gave him to wear after the game.
“If it was a high ankle sprain,” Dr. Chao said, “how many of those do you see a day later without a boot?”
Lawrence Picture Doesn’t Tell The Story
The picture of Lawrence immediately after the injury was one of him pounding his first on the ground and writhing in pain.
“When it happened, of course it looked bad to the naked eye,” Dr. Chao said. “And, of course, the way he limped up the tunnel everyone’s thinking, ‘he’s done, he’s done.’ But I always say judge the injury, not the reaction to the injury. Not how he limped off, not if he threw his helmet …
“His right foot/inner ankle got stepped on. He rolls but his foot wasn’t planted which means it’s an inversion ankle sprain, not a high ankle sprain. And he folded up underneath with his knee but he’s a very flexible guy.
“And if you bend the joint in the right direction, it doesn’t necessarily hurt. If you bend the joint in the wrong direction, you can have a significant injury. He got bent up in the right direction.”
Last week Dr. Chao guaranteed Joe Flacco would start for the Cleveland Browns before the Browns officially named him the starter in part because there was no way the Browns would put Dorian Thompson-Robinson in to start without a full week of practice.
“But you’ll put Trevor Lawrence in without taking a first-team rep,” Dr. Chao said. “You’ll do that all day long.
“The bottom line is the fact they’re even allowing him to stand around in practice is a positive sign.”
And so Dr. Chao believes there is a chance Lawrence plays on Sunday.
“It’s always been a reasonable chance that he could play,” he said.
Other injuries Dr. Chao is following:
Kenny Pickett Still Some Weeks Away
Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett: He had surgery on Monday and the Steelers initially said the sprain would put their starting quarterback on the shelf indefinitely but did not put him on the injured reserve list.
That suggests Pickett might come back between three (at best) and four weeks (more likely). And that means Pickett would be ready for the season-finale and playoffs for sure.
So Mitch Trubisky, who started Thursday evening against the Patriots, might have to carry the load a couple of more games.
“Pickett can come back before IR but he’s not playing next week either, I don’t think,” Dr. Chao said.
Explaining Hayden Hurst Post Traumatic Amnesia
Panthers tight end Hayden Hurst (concussion): Jerry Hurst, who is Hayden’s father, tweeted on Thursday his son has been diagnosed with post traumatic amnesia by an independent neurologist. This after Hurst took a hit during a Nov. 9 game against the Bears.
Hurst has not played since and is already been ruled out again this week.
“It’s not great but it is recoverable,” Dr. Chao said. “At this point if he’s had post-traumatic amnesia for a month with only a month or so to go in the season, it seems discretion is the better part of valor here. Hopefully it clears up and he can return.
“What he has going for him is this is indeed his first concussion. What he has going against him is prolonged symptoms. The hit didn’t look terrible. Now, what is post traumatic amnesia? I’m not trying to belittle what it is. Obviously, it can be very scary. But what it means is after a hit, after a concussion, you don’t remember things after the hit as opposed to remembering things before the hit. So he doesn’t remember everything after the hit. He’s possibly forgetful of things he did yesterday.
“Post traumatic amnesia doesn’t mean you forget everything that happened the day before, but you still are forgetting some things that happened after the concussion.”
Jonathan Taylor Might Be Ready For Steelers
Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (UCL thumb surgery): The news is good for Taylor because he’s already into his second week post surgery to place and stabilize the UC ligament.
Taylor will miss this week but Taylor might be available as early as Dec. 16 game against the Steelers.
“All along compared to the three to five weeks,” Dr. Chao said, “I thought it would be closer to two or three and here’s why: The surgery is to put the ligament back in place. If the ligament were torn, but in place, he could have played with a splint or tape. Now that the ligament is back in place, as long as it doesn’t get dislodged from its place, you can play with a splint.”
That applies to Taylor, a running back.
“That’s not true if you’re Drew Brees and a quarterback and have to spin the ball,” Dr. Chao said. “But it can be true if you’re a running back. The worry potentially is ball security but you can still catch passes. Lots of people with torn ulnar collateral ligaments play. So I have relative optimism that Taylor can return to play before the four-week IR number.”
Mike McCarthy Back As Early As Friday
Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy (Appendix): Do not be surprised if the Dallas Cowboys coach who had an appendectomy earlier this week shows up at the team facility Friday or Saturday ahead of the team’s Sunday night game against the Eagles.
“I guarantee you that Mike McCarthy will coach,” Dr. Chao said.
Dr. Chao recalls that Norv Turner once had an emergency appendectomy on Friday and coached on Sunday.
“McCarthy’s a coach. He’s not going to not be there,” Dr. Chao said. “He won’t be on narcotics. It’s a laparoscopic appendectomy [meaning no large incision]. Some soreness, sure, but not huge. I think he’s going to show up at practice this week before Sunday.”
McCarthy’s presence could be important to the team but also to the coach himself. Not that McCarthy may need it but being present mere days after surgery certainly gives him credibility if he ever asks one of his players to show up after some sort medical setback.
“That’s why Mike McCarthy will show up to practice,” Dr. Chao said. “It gives him cache to say, ‘guys you got to …’ He’s coaching on the sideline. It’ll be OK.”