Alabama Football: Update on Jaylen Waddle’s return

Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football: Jaylen Waddle’s recovery is progressing nicely. Check out the latest on his chance to play in the National Championship game.

Notre Dame is fortunate in not having to compete against the most explosive Alabama football player. Jaylen Waddle will not play in the College Football semi-final game. Will Jaylen get on the field on the evening of January 11? That question is not expected to be answered until gameday of the National Championship game.

Three days ahead of the semi-final game, Waddle’s status is approaching ‘doubtful’ for a return this season. Another way to describe his status is unlikely, but not impossible.

Jaylen broke a bone in his ankle, returning an opening kickoff in the Tennessee game. The injury required surgery and a recovery time of 10-12 weeks. Ten weeks will be January 2, nine days in advance of the National Championship game. Alabama football fans have been hoping for Jaylen’s return and were excited when the video seen below was posted almost three weeks ago.

On Monday, Nick Saban was asked for an update on Jaylen’s recovery and if a return this season can be anticipated. Nick responded by saying,

"His rehab continues to go well and he’s advanced to doing dry land running but he isn’t back practicing at this point."

The Saban statement was short and with enough possibility to excite Alabama football fans. The ‘dry land’ description baffled a few Crimson Tide fans. With a program history of a head coach purported to have been able to walk on water, some joked maybe Waddle had been doing the same.

Reality was, of course, something different. A key component of Jaylen’s Waddle’s recovery was exercising to protect against muscle atrophy. The use of hydro-treadmills, allows Jaylen to run while incurring only a fraction of weight-bearing that occurs outside of water tanks. Hydrotherapy has been used for racehorses for decades. It is also proven to be beneficial in helping human athletes recover quickly.

The next milestone for Jaylen would be returning to an Alabama football practice field. No timetable is known for such an event or if it will ever occur. Crimson Tide fans are left to hope his status moves to a real ‘doubtful’ to a ‘questionable’ to a gameday decision. A future opponent will be given as little advance notice as possible, forcing them to prepare for Waddle.

Some Crimson Tide fans have been in good humor over the unknown, choosing to joke rather than agonize. A summary of social media  and message board comments suggests a Crimson Tide fan should trust Jaylen will return if:

  • You have ever expected to see a live elephant mascot in Tuscaloosa
  • You have ever claimed Bryant-Denny field will be lowered in an expansion
  • You have ever lobbied for a return to white helmets
  • You re-tweeted ‘news’ Kirby Smart will be the next Atlanta Falcons Head Coach
  • You ever told a child Big Al is also the ‘Tooth Fairy’

Whatever happens with Jaylen, we hope his next football game is played without injury; followed by many more.

Next. Four keys to National Championship. dark

Anything presuming the Crimson Tide will play in the National Championship game angers Notre Dame fans. The slight is not intentional. It is a byproduct of not considering Brian Kelly’s team a serious threat.