As if it needed any more weapons on offense, University of Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is expected to return to practice on Tuesday in preparations for Ohio State in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Jan. 11.
The news was first reported on Monday by Matt Zenitz of AL.com.
On Tuesday morning, ESPN's Chris Low spoke with Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban, who confirmed that Waddle has indeed been cleared to practice.
"He's been running, but we need to see him in practice," Saban told ESPN. "Our medical people will evaluate him as the week goes on and make a decision from there. He wants to play and has been working hard to get back."
What his role would be against the Buckeyes is still undetermined, or if he even sees the gridiron at all, at this point as he has missed seven games after fracturing his ankle on the opening kickoff against Tennessee back on Oct. 24.
"Jaylen's rehab is coming along," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said last week. "He's doing dry-land running. Still working to try to get back. But he is making progress. And we're happy to see him be able to at least go out there and do some running and do some things, but he's not back in practice yet."
Prior to his injury, Waddle caught 25 passes for 557 yards and four touchdowns. In every game he has played this season, the speedy wide out has gone for over 100 yards. He was also a preseason All-American.
"You can’t replace a guy like Jaylen Waddle in terms of what his ability is," Saban said after Waddle's initial injury. It’s no different than losing Allen Iverson, a guy that scores 30-40 points a game. He’s that kind of impact player."
Back in November, Saban said on his radio show that Waddle has been itching to return.
"We’re very encouraged," Saban said. "Everybody thinks he is doing really, really well. He’s had a great attitude about it and he’s gonna work hard. He told me that he wants to try to come back and play, but we’re certainly not gonna let that happen until he’s fully 100 percent healthy.”