Jaguars' Lawrence making progress, 'hopefully playing' vs. Browns
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Trevor Lawrence has ditched the crutches and the walking boot.
The Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback feels “a lot better” than he thought he would two days after sustaining a high ankle sprain against Cincinnati.
Lawrence sat out practice Wednesday but wouldn’t rule out playing at Cleveland (7-5) on Sunday, a matchup that could help decide the AFC wild-card race or postseason seeding down the stretch.
“I’m thankful that it wasn’t a worse injury than what I kind of thought it was on the field,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence injured his right ankle when left tackle Walker Little stepped on him while getting powered backward late in Monday night’s 34-31 overtime loss to the Bengals. X-rays were negative, but Lawrence was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain that could take weeks to fully heal.
Quarterbacks have played through similar injuries before; most recently Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes played last season’s AFC championship game and the Super Bowl with a high ankle sprain.
But the Jaguars (8-4), who lead the AFC South by a game over Houston and Indianapolis, want to make sure Lawrence is healthy enough to handle what they believe will be a deep postseason run.
“I don’t want to compare two injuries,” coach Doug Pederson said. “Two different people, but in the circumstance of playing in a conference championship came versus a regular-season game are two different things.
“Obviously the Chiefs felt like (Mahomes) was good; he couldn’t hurt himself further. … We want to make sure that before we put him on the field as this week goes that he’s capable of not reinjuring himself.”
Lawrence sprained his left knee in Week 6 against Indianapolis and played four days later at New Orleans. He played well, too, throwing for 204 yards and a touchdown and running for a career-high 59 more in a 31-24 victory.
Lawrence has been at his best lately. Against the Bengals, he became the first player in franchise history to have at least one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown in three consecutive weeks.
“I’m trying to do as much as I can each day without aggravating it or making anything worse,” Lawrence said. “But trying to progress toward hopefully playing. Like that’s the goal every week, and every day is to try to get as healthy as possible.
“And for the past 48 hours have been some big steps, and I’m really happy with how it’s healing up. So we’ll see. I obviously can’t give any answers right now and I’m just going to take my time and do everything right.”
If Lawrence is unable to play, C.J. Beathard would make his 13th NFL start and first since 2020 with San Francisco. Beathard is 2-10 as a starter.
Beathard, however, was limited in practice Wednesday because of an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. He expects to do more Thursday and Friday, but ultimately would prefer to see Lawrence on the field against the Browns.
“He knows his body. His knows himself more than anybody on this team," Beathard said. "I'm just going to prepare as if I'm ready — just like I do each and every other week — and if the opportunity comes, I'll be in there ready to go. But if it doesn't, I won't bat an eye about it.
“I want him to be healthy and play and play well.”
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