If the Jets (0-3) are going to earn their first victory of the season, it appears they'll have to do so without their starting quarterback. Sam Darnold will return to practice this week, as he's been cleared for non-contact drills.
However, the lingering issue regarding if his spleen is still enlarged from his bout with mono casts a shadow over whether he'll be active when the Jets return from their bye week to face the Eagles (2-2).
Jets coach Adam Gase says Darnold is currently a "question mark" for Sunday's contest.
In a conference call on Monday, Darnold expressed that he feels he can play this week and that his energy has been at 100 percent for about a week now, which is the "most frustrating" aspect.
When asked about his spleen, Darnold deferred to Gase.
"It's out of my control," Darnold said. "My spleen's going to do what it's going to do. Right now, I'm just focused on if they say I can get some cardio in -- getting as much cardio in as I can -- making sure that I'm in shape so if I were to go out there and play a game I hold up."
Darnold has yet to do any strenuous cardio and has been limited to walking and riding a stationary bike.
Gase acknowledged that while this a small step forward for Darnold, it's "not the clear cut answer we were hoping for."
"This is just part of the process, this whole -- Like I'm not an expert on the whole mono thing -- but this sounds like this is routine as far as how they go about this situation," Gase said. "I'm asking questions and trying to get as much information as I can so I can have a plan going forward for this week."
If Darnold isn't ready, the Jets will have to turn to Luke Falk for the second straight game. The Jets are down to their third quarterback as Darnold has missed the last two games. The Jets haven't scored an offensive touchdown since the third quarter of Week 1.
Darnold is eager to get back on the field and help turn things around for the Jets. Yet Darnold understands the potential health ramifications of coming back too soon, so he's trying to stay level-headed.
"I'm super anxious to get out there," Darnold said. "But I have control those emotions."
Gase admits that possibly being without Darnold for the Week 5 road matchup is "not ideal" but he's going to have multiple game plans on deck.
"Right now it is what it is," Gase said. "I just have to keep kind of preparing with a possibility of Sam Darnold and a possibility that Luke Falk might have to go."