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That is why we said in early December, this is a multi-week injury. We know that Lamar Jackson is not fully healthy, but this is the playoffs. He has yet to practice and has already been ruled out for the Wild Card round. Now at six weeks, it is fair to question what role a lack of a long-term contract plays in this decision.
At Sports Injury Central, we had Jackson’s health at a suboptimal 74 indicating he could play but would not be completely explosive on the ground. However, it seems fair to question why he hasn’t tried to practice or see what he can do given the importance of the game and the timeline.
No question Jackson is not 100% as he indicated.
Jackson Isn’t The Only Injured Raven
After 18 weeks of the NFL, who is? Teammate J.K. Dobbins is still not close to 100% after a multi-ligament knee issue and in-season scope, but he is playing.
A grade 2 PCL sprain always leaves some residual laxity and Lamar Jackson will have to learn to play with this unless he wants to have major ligament reconstruction surgery. Some instability is a hallmark of a PCL sprain, and this feeling of being “unstable” is common, yet players rehab to play through it.
Last season Zach Wilson had a grade 2 PCL sprain and returned after four weeks. Ezekiel Elliot had a PCL sprain that he played with all last season, although he acknowledges it hampered him. All PCL injuries are not the same but they and others have played thru before six weeks.
Initially, as questions bubbled up about Jackson not playing late season being related to the lack of contract, I supported him saying a grade 2 PCL is hard to return from. However, we are now at six weeks and this is a win or go home game.
Lamar Jackson Is In The Last Year Of His Contract
It may be smart for Jackson to not play through without a long term deal lest he risk setback or affect his ultimate value with a poor performance. I am not calling him out as “soft”, but it is fair to question if he had long term security, would he try and muscle through. Certainly he might be more motivated to do so than now.
In the end, is Jackson admitting his effectiveness is tied to his explosive running and mobility by not trying to play? There is no question he could play from the pocket with this injury. In any case, it is now fair to ask the question about the role of not having a long term deal. Given that he missed last December as well and mobile running quarterbacks have higher injury rates and ultimately slow down, it will be interesting to see how his Ravens tenure and any new contract offer plays out.