FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold practiced Wednesday for the first time since his Week 2 diagnosis for mononucleosis, but the team may not reveal this week’s starter until Sunday.
Coach Adam Gase seemed more hopeful about Darnold’s chances than he was Monday, but he left enough wiggle room to keep the Eagles guessing.
“I like our odds better than what they’ve been,” Gase said before practice. “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 still hasn’t been cleared for contact, but that could happen Friday, when his next medical exam will occur. Previously, he was examined on Mondays.
Gase said the plan is to split practice reps Wednesday between Darnold and Falk, increasing Darnold’s workload if he’s up to it. In the meantime, they will increase his cardio in practice.
The Jets broke out a red jersey to accommodate Darnold. Unlike most coaches, Gase doesn’t require his quarterbacks to wear red (no-contact) jerseys in practice.
“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.
“If it doesn’t look right, we’ll go in a different direction.”
On Monday, Darnold all but admitted his spleen still was swollen — a potentially dangerous situation. An enlarged spleen, one of the primary symptoms of mono, could rupture with a hit to the midsection. Otherwise, Darnold said he feels great and wants to play.
Darnold and Falk are the only two experienced quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, which could indicate the Jets are leaning toward making Darnold active for the game. Mike White, a former Dallas Cowboys draft pick, was added to the practice squad last week.
Journeyman David Fales, who dressed as the No. 2 quarterback for the Week 3 loss to the New England Patriots, was released last week.
The Jets are looking for something to spark the offense, which has generated only one touchdown in three games — all losses. Falk, who replaced Trevor Siemian (ankle) in Week 2, has led the offense to only three points in 22 possessions.