ProFootballDoc: The No. 1 Reason Lamar Jackson Was Sidelined Was Not No. 2

Two potential explanations exist for why Lamar Jackson went to the locker room in the fourth quarter and missed parts of two drives. The first is he had cramps and needed intravenous hydration. The second is …. well, he had to go No. 2.

Clearly the more popular and talked about theory is the latter. Many on social media jumped on his awkward waddle as he headed to the locker room as definitive proof. Of course, the story would be more unique and interesting if that had been the case, but the most likely reason is muscle cramps from dehydration leading to the need for IV fluids.

First off, the stiff trot to the locker room is often a sign of body-wide muscle cramps. Single extremity cramping is treated with stretching, oral fluids and electrolytes on the sidelines, but core cramping is the kind that won’t stop unless IV fluids are used.

Secondly, he returned to the game with the telltale wrap placed to stop any bleeding after an IV catheter.

Yes, he had a similar but smaller wrap earlier, but post-game Lamar indicated he wasn’t feeling well, and it would make sense that he had an IV before the game that had a smaller wrap placed since that was less rushed. It is more typical to cramp earlier in the season due to conditioning and weather, but an illness could have caused the pregame and fourth quarter need for hydration.

When I have been involved in locker room IVs during a game, we would have a TV on in the locker room to know the game situation. It was not an accident that Jackson returned just after Trace McSorley hurt his knee on third down, as he and the medical personnel likely saw it happen. The ensuing injury/TV timeout gave time for Lamar to have the IV removed, get quickly bandaged and emerge from the locker room in time to put his helmet on to throw the fourth-down TD. The Ravens didn’t have another quarterback on the sidelines, and Jackson and the medical staff knew it.

I hate to be the spoiler here, but No. 2 is not the likely explanation of Lamar’s visit to the locker room.

Written by Dr. David Chao

David Chao, MD -- known digitally as Pro Football Doc -- is an expert contributor for Outkick. Chao spent 17 seasons as the team doctor for the San Diego Chargers (1997-2013) and is part of the medical team at OASIS in San Diego where he treats and specializes in orthopedic sports injuries, working with high-profile professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

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