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Jets QB Sam Darnold says shoulder feels better, no decision made on his status for Sunday

Trainers check on Jets quarterback Sam Darnold during

Trainers check on Jets quarterback Sam Darnold during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Denver Broncos on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. Credit: AP/John Minchillo

Sam Darnold said his sprained right shoulder is feeling much better and that no decision has been made about his status for this week.

Darnold definitely wants to play Sunday against the Cardinals. But he said there still needs to be discussions with the doctors about whether he can do more damage if he doesn’t sit out.

"It really does depend on what the doctors say and what they think can happen in the future in terms of further injury," Darnold said on a Zoom call Monday. "If this can have a lingering effect if I do hurt it more.

"For me the most important thing is playing football. I understand that there might be a potential risk. I think the most important thing is going out there and playing if I can. If I’m able to play and I don’t play, that’s worse than anything in my opinion."

The Jets don’t return to practice until Wednesday. Darnold said he’s not sure if he will practice.

On Friday, coach Adam Gase didn't rule out the possibility that Darnold could miss time. Nothing has changed regarding Darnold’s status, according to the Jets. They will continue to monitor his shoulder and provide an update on their franchise quarterback on Wednesday.

Darnold was injured in the first quarter of Thursday night's loss to the Broncos. He was sacked by Alexander Johnson and driven hard on his right side into the MetLife Stadium turf.

Darnold suffered a sprained AC joint in his throwing arm. He wouldn’t say what grade, which obviously is important for the timeline. Remarkably, Darnold missed only four snaps before re-entering and finishing the game.

Since then he’s been getting treatment on the elbow and has tried "to mobilize it" and "keep moving it around." Darnold said he suffered a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder in high school, and he didn’t miss any time. But now it’s his throwing shoulder.

"I feel good," he said. "It keeps getting better every day. I’m excited to see what my progress is come Wednesday. We’ll see what we do there."

Darnold isn’t ready to say he’s out this week if he doesn’t practice Wednesday.

"I want to play," he said. "I want to play on Sundays. That’s the most important things."

Gase and Jets general manager Joe Douglas will have voices in this decision. They wouldn’t want to do anything that could put Darnold’s long-term health in jeopardy. The prudent call may be for Darnold to just take some time off, especially considering the situation.

The Jets have lost their first four games and have been noncompetitive in three of the games. Darnold was running for his life and sacked six times against the Broncos, who were down their two best pass rushers.

If Darnold can’t play this week, veteran Joe Flacco would replace him.

Flacco is just back from a neck injury that required surgery in the spring. He was active for the first time as a Jet on Thursday, when he appeared in his first game in more than 11 months. The former Ravens Super Bowl MVP completed his two pass attempts against Denver for 16 yards.

The Jets have three more far-less experienced players in their quarterback room.

Rookie James Morgan is on the active roster, but he hasn’t thrown a pass in the NFL. Veteran David Fales and Mike White are on the practice squad. (The Jets signed White to the practice team Monday after waiving him Thursday). Fales hasn’t attempted a pass in an NFL game since 2017, and White never has.

One of them will have to be active behind Flacco if Darnold can’t go.

"Your best ability as a quarterback is your availability," Darnold said. "I’ve always said that, and I believe in that. I always want to do everything I can to not miss any games."

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