WATCH: Adam Gase Says Odds Now 'Better' for Jets QB Sam Darnold to Play at Eagles
It's still not a guarantee but there's now growing optimism that Jets quarterback Sam Darnold could return on Sunday at the Eagles.
Darnold still hasn't been cleared for contact but he returned to practice on Wednesday, a step in the right direction as he works his way back from his bout with mono.
Darnold donned a red no-contact jersey in Wednesday's practice.
Darnold could be cleared for contact after his medical exam on Friday.
For now, the plan is to split reps between Darnold and Luke Falk, and increase the load if Darnold doesn't suffer any setbacks.
The Jets will also increase cardio for Darnold during practice.
After casting some doubt on Monday, coach Adam Gase appears much more open-minded about Darnold taking the field in Week 5 as the Jets (0-3) aim for their first win of the season.
"I like our odds better than what they've been," Gase said. "Last week, if we would've been playing again, I would've said it's very low. I like the fact that things have looked and progressed in the right direction. But I don't know what that five percent is. There's some gray still there."
Darnold and Falk are the only quarterbacks on the active roster, which could signal a Darnold return against the Eagles.
Darnold also broke down the huddle for the Jets prior to Wednesday's practice.
"He looked good. He looked comfortable. To me, I didn't feel like he was away. I feel like we connected on pretty much everything today," Robby Anderson said to Cimini. You can tell he's excited to be back. He wanted to put a lot of extra work in, so that's a good sign."
That being said, Gase is still preparing for the possibility of Falk starting. A final decision might not be made until game day.
"We have to keep talking to the doctors every day and keep talking to him," Gase said. "We have to be prepared to go either way."
With Darnold out the last two games, the Jets haven't scored an offensive touchdown.
Darnold guided the Jets to their lone offensive touchdown of the season in the third quarter of Week 1 against the Bills.
While the Jets badly need Darnold back, it's vital they take a cautious approach. On Monday, Darnold essentially alluded that his spleen is still swollen and that "it's going to do what it's going to do."
If Darnold plays with an enlarged spleen, there's the chance it could rupture on a hit.
Darnold says his energy has been at 100 percent for about a week now. The season is pretty much on the line.
However, a thoughtful verdict is going to be required from the doctors, the front office and the coaching staff because Darnold's health is the No. 1 priority.
"If it’s up to Sam, I know what’s going to happen. If it’s me, yeah," Gase said. "That’s why Joe [Douglas] is an important part of this. For him to say if it doesn’t look right.”