The Jaguars suffered a seemingly critical loss in Monday's game against the Bengals, with quarterback Trevor Lawrence exiting in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury that required trainers to help him walk to the locker room. However, Lawrence returned to practice Thursday despite an MRI revealing a high-ankle sprain, and he has yet to be ruled out for Week 14 against the Browns. In fact, Jacksonville won't rule him out until game day with head coach Doug Pederson saying "probably so" when asked on Friday if Lawrence will be a game-time decision, according to NFL Media.
The Athletic reported this week that Lawrence is working around the clock in an effort to suit up, even though his visible frustration after Monday's injury suggested the QB might be sidelined for a while. NFL Media doubled down on the optimistic tone Thursday, reporting that Lawrence's ankle sprain appears to be more like a one-to-two-week injury. Jaguars officials are likely to test the QB's mobility closer to Sunday's kickoff to determine whether he can go against Cleveland.
His injury occurred on a third-and-long Monday with just under six minutes left in the matchup. Bengals pass rusher Trey Hendrickson logged a sack on the play, but it was Jaguars left tackle Walker Little, starting in place of an injured Cam Robinson, who inadvertently stepped on Lawrence's ankle, causing the QB's leg to twist as he went to the ground. Lawrence slammed his helmet to the grass after the play, frustrated at the injury, and could only limp gingerly with the help of trainers.
Former 49ers reserve C.J. Beathard, who's been the Jaguars' backup QB since 2021, replaced Lawrence under center for the remainder of the contest, going 9 of 10 for 63 yards but falling to Browning and the Bengals, 34-31, in overtime. Beathard also appeared to suffer an injury shortly after entering, favoring his arm after a fumble, but stayed in the game. Jacksonville did not have a third QB available in the event Beathard would've been forced out of action as well.