The Jacksonville Jaguars probably braced themselves for the worst when Trevor Lawrence got hurt in the 34-31 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Early tests revealed the third-year quarterback suffered an ankle sprain. One day after the game, head coach Doug Pederson refused to provide a timeline for his potential recovery. He also didn't rule him out for Week 14. Looking back, Pederson made the right call, as Lawrence returned to practice Thrusday.
Lawrence didn't practice Wednesday, with Pederson saying it was too soon after the injury. However, he was a limited participant Thursday. While there's still a chance he won't face the Cleveland Browns Sunday, being back in the fold just days after hurting his ankle is encouraging. As Pederson noted when he spoke with the local media, the injury probably looked worse than it originally was.
For his part, Lawrence is hitting rehab hard on the days preceding the matchup. However, he won't put himself ahead of the team and won't suit up if the medical staff doesn't think he's good to go.
"The team is always the priority. We had the same conversation before the New Orleans game earlier in the season. I'll never put myself or the team in a position where we're at a higher risk," Lawrence told the media Wednesday. "We're not going to play our best because I'm not able to do my job, those are all questions you have to answer through the course of the week. For me, it's doing everything I can every second of the day to get back as soon as possible, whenever that is."
Lawrence got hurt in the fourth quarter of the loss to the Bengals when left tackle Walker Little inadvertently stepped into his ankle. He tried to walk off the field but needed assistance to get to the locker room. Given that he was near the tunnel, he opted not to ride the team's medical cart when it was offered to him.
While an ankle sprain can keep a player out for two to five weeks, Patrick Mahomes played through one in the divisional round of last year's playoffs, so a player not missing time because of the injury isn't unheard of. That said, every case is different. On the other hand, Lawrence took a step in the right direction when he practiced Thursday.
Trevor Lawrence will play vs. the Browns if he can, won't hinder the Jaguars chances
Heading into the 2021 NFL Draft, Trevor Lawrence said he loved football but his life didn't revolve around it. Critics perceived his comments as not being fully committed to playing in the NFL and some even went as far as to call it a red flag. Throughout his short career, the star signal-caller has put that narrative to rest several times. He did yet again when he returned to practice as soon as he could.
While Lawrence isn't known for making fiery speeches ala Ray Lewis, he's the kind of player who will lead by example and his play on the field. By returning to practice, he's shown he'll do whatever he can to help his team win. Conversely, he won't compromise Jacksonville's chances of beating the Browns if he isn't healthy enough.
Trevor Lawrence could've easily taken it easy while he gets better. Instead, he's back on the field just three days after suffering an ankle sprain. If you needed further proof that he's a franchise quarterback to build around, his display of toughness heading into Week 14 should suffice.