The Jacksonville Jaguars were dealt a serious blow on Monday night when quarterback Trevor Lawrence went down with what appeared to be a serious ankle injury.
On Tuesday, head coach Doug Pederson confirmed that Lawrence suffered a high ankle sprain to his right leg, but added that the injury “looked worse than it really was.”
“It’s just a right, high ankle sprain. Everything’s stable, everything looks good, and we’ll see where he is in a couple of days.”
Pederson declined to offer specifics about Lawrence’s return date, but noted that he will likely not require surgery at this point.
“I’m not going to put that timetable on Trevor. I’m not going to put him in a box like that. We’ll see how he is in a couple of days.”
“I have not had discussions with the docs about that,” Pederson added of the possibility of surgery. “I don’t think that’s a necessary means at this point. Because of where it is in the ankle, it’s not necessarily something that surgery would be warranted at this time.”
Dr. Bonnie Chien, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in operative and non-operative treatment of foot and ankle conditions at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center, spoke to Fox News Digital about high ankle sprains and what a typical recovery for those injuries could look like.
“A high ankle sprain refers to the ligaments called syndesmosis ligaments typically, and those are the ligaments that connect the two major bones in the ankle, the tibia and fibula. And it kind of goes from front to back. In contrast to a typical ankle sprain, which is typically known as a low ankle sprain, which are the ligaments mostly on the outer side of the ankle and a little bit lower in anatomic location.”
Pederson’s indication that the injury does not require surgery at this point could be a good sign as the Jaguars dropped to the No. 4 seed in the AFC after a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. As Chien explained, surgery is typically warranted based on the “severity and the degree of the ligaments that are injured” and how many ligaments are pulled during the injury.
“If somebody were to just maybe sprain or partially tear only the front part of the ligaments, sometimes the ankle can still be stable enough that it does not necessarily warrant surgery.”
The injury came late in the game when left tackle Walker Little stepped on Lawrence’s ankle on a third-down play, causing him to twist it as he was sacked. As the third-year quarterback tried to get up, he dropped to the ground in apparent pain. He was helped off the field and into the tunnel for X-rays, which were negative. Lawrence left the stadium in a walking boot and on crutches.
Pederson would not say if Lawrence would be ready for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns, but a high ankle sprain could see him miss more than just one game.
“So the high ankle sprain injuries typically take a little bit longer than a standard low ankle sprain depending on the extent of the injury,” Chien explained.
“Sometimes people feel okay and they can put weight and walk on it right away. They usually tend to avoid rotational type movements in the ankle because that’s what reproduces the injury or recreates the pain and puts the ligaments on more stress. So, for those types of more intense activities, that takes certainly a lot longer. If it’s a little bit more severe, sometimes it can be at least six weeks before somebody is putting weight on the ankle.”
Lawrence has not missed an NFL game in three seasons despite sustaining minor injuries. He sprained his left knee against Indianapolis in October but played through with a brace.
The Jaguars lead the AFC South with just one game over the Colts and Houston Texans.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.