There is no bigger question for the upcoming playoffs than this: When will Lamar Jackson play?
The answer: No one can say for sure. No one truly knows.
The Ravens star QB has been sidelined since Dec. 4 with a PCL sprain and has not practiced since suffering the injury. The original thought was that he faced one to three weeks of recovery time. Yet this is now his fifth missed game, with Tyler “Snoop” Huntley starting.
While acknowledging the uncertainty the situation brings, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told reporters on Friday, “We’ll be hopeful for next week.”
Jackson has also indicated to people close to him that he’s confident he’ll play in the playoffs. But others who have watched him closely aren’t as convinced.
It appears Jackson has done what he’s been asked from rehab sessions to training sessions to recovery. But his status, which has been evaluated on a week-to-week basis, is unknown. This is not a scenario of Jackson simply waiting for the playoffs, and then will be a go.
Regardless, Jackson’s knee hasn’t felt quite right, despite the work he’s put in to try to get it feeling right, so he hasn’t practiced.
What could be taking so long? Those familiar with the injury offer two possible explanations.
One is that, PCL injuries can sometimes take longer than say, MCLs. And to be sure, it has been longer than anyone expected.
The other is that, perhaps the way Jackson plays the position has lengthened the timeframe. Jackson, the 2019 MVP, is one of the NFL’s most dynamic players. But to be himself, his knee needs to be 100 percent. Can he really be Lamar if his knee isn’t all the way back?
If Jackson can’t play in next week’s Super Wild Card Weekend, the belief is he can go the following week if Baltimore advances in the playoffs.