Sam Darnold knew he had to make sure one thing was clear before he returned: The Jets quarterback said last week he wanted assurance that he didn’t risk dying on the field because of an enlarged spleen.
He got that clearance this week.
“The spleen’s good,” Darnold said Thursday, via Connor Hughes of TheAthletic.com.
Darnold will wear extra padding to guard his spleen, with X-Tech providing him customized protection. He said it was not restrictive and expects to wear it the rest of the season.
He has no fears of getting hit in his first game since the season opener.
“I’m not worried about that,” Darnold said. “When I’m out there playing, I’m not worried about guys hitting me or anything. I’m trusting the guys up front to do their thing. I’m trusting the receivers to go out and get open when it’s time to pass the ball. So for me, it’s all about trust. When I do get hit, I know I’m not in danger anymore. They’re letting me go out there and play because it’s safe. I’m not worried about that.”
Darnold was diagnosed with mononucleosis in Week Two leading up to the Jets’ game against the Browns. Mono enlarges the spleen, putting it higher risk of rupturing.
“We should be good,” Jets coach Adam Gase said. “He shouldn’t be dying on the field.”
Darnold admits his football conditioning might take some time. He did as much as he could while out with mono, riding the bike and walking to up the heart rate, but it’s obviously not the same as playing football.
He returned to practice last week.
“I think having a couple of weeks of practices under my belt is a good thing,” Darnold said. “It’s definitely going to help with that, but there’s nothing like Sunday. I think going out there and playing the first couple of series I think will be a little bit of a shock to the system, but I think I’m going to be ready. Hopefully after those couple of series, I think I’ll feel right at home.”