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NY Jets: Sam Darnold returns to practice, expected to play on Sunday

NY Jets, Sam Darnold (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Sam Darnold (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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NY Jets’ quarterback Sam Darnold returned to practice in full capacity on Thursday.

The NY Jets may soon see the return of quarterback Sam Darnold — perhaps as soon as this Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.

After missing the last three weeks with a shoulder injury, Darnold returned to practice on Wednesday in a limited fashion. The hope was that he could continue to progress throughout the week ahead of this Sunday’s game.

And on Thursday, that progression continued.

Darnold was listed as a full participant in Thursday’s practice indicating that he’s well on his way to a Week 12 return. And given how much time he’s been forced to miss this season, that’s certainly a welcome sign.

The Jets have been forced to turn to veteran Joe Flacco in four of their last six games with Darnold out dealing with an AC joint sprain in his throwing shoulder.

The injury was first sustained in the first quarter of the Jets’ Week 4 loss to the Denver Broncos when Darnold was brought down hard on a sack by linebacker Alexander Johnson.

Adam Gase and the Jets allowed Darnold to finish the game, but he would go on to miss the next two games with the injury. He returned in Week 6 but appeared to reaggravate the injury the following week in the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Despite the game being a lost cause by that point, Darnold was once again allowed to finish the game only for him to take a number of significant hits in the final 12 or so minutes. As a result, the 23-year-old was held out for three weeks including the bye week.

But now, Darnold looks primed to return this Sunday barring a setback on Friday.

The NY Jets have been cautious with Sam Darnold this time around

The Jets have understandably taken a more cautious approach this time and have expressed their concern of re-injury. They want Darnold to be completely healthy this time before rushing him back out there.

After all, not only is the former USC star playing for his Jets future (a futile cause at this point), but his performance down the stretch could also be used as an audition for prospective trade partners in the offseason.

Both Darnold and the Jets could serve to benefit from impressive play over the final third of the season. For that reason, it makes sense to be careful.

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Barring any unforeseen circumstances, expect Sam Darnold to make his long-awaited return to the gridiron this coming Sunday.

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