How long is Lamar Jackson out? Ravens QB to miss Steelers game, possibly Week 13 with COVID-19

Lamar Jackson isn’t eligible to play in Week 12 against the Steelers after reportedly testing positive for COVID-19 last week.

The NFL’s coronavirus protocols require Jackson to quarantine for at least 10 days, a faster turnaround than possible after reports of Jackson’s positive test emerged Thanksgiving night. That leaves the Ravens (6-4) starting Robert Griffin III at quarterback in Pittsburgh (10-0) on Wednesday afternoon in a game that’s been rescheduled three times. Jackson’s timeline to return sets him up to barely be activated before Baltimore plays in Week 13, although his availability for that game could depend on a number of factors.

Here’s more about why Jackson isn’t allowed to play in Week 12 and what will have to happen for him to return sooner rather than later. 

Why isn’t Lamar Jackson playing against Steelers?

Lamar Jackson can’t play against the Steelers due to his testing positive for COVID-19 along with the ensuing NFL coronavirus protocols.

Reports emerged Thursday, Nov. 26 in the evening that Jackson had tested positive for COVID-19. He was subsequently placed on the COVID-19/reserve list the next day. Players who test positive are required quarantine for a minimum of 10 days, so the Steelers game is happening too soon after the positive test for Jackson to play.

When can Lamar Jackson return?

While it’s not clear exactly when Jackson began quarantining, he’s got that 10-day timeline that he has to wait out before coming back (that’s assuming he continues to test negative throughout that time frame).

Counting forward from both the Thursday that Jackson was reported to test positive and the Friday that he was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list, 10 days brings us to either Monday, Dec. 7 or Tuesday, Dec. 8. Conveniently for the Ravens, their Week 13 game against the Cowboys was moved from Thursday, Dec. 3 to Tuesday, Dec. 8.

The fact that Jackson can be activated in time for the game against Dallas doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll play in it. Because of his quarantine, he wouldn’t have been in the facility for long before having to play in an NFL game. The Ravens could choose for Jackson’s sake to let him get a full week of preparation, but that could be determined by Baltimore’s result against the Steelers in Week 12 (the Ravens are currently on the outside of the playoffs looking in).

After the Cowboys game, Baltimore is scheduled to play the Browns on Monday Night Football in Week 14, a game Jackson would definitely be ready for (assuming no health issues or continued positive tests).

Who is the Ravens’ backup quarterback?

The Ravens have a veteran backup for Jackson in the form of Robert Griffin III, the one-time Washington star who dealt with injuries and regression en route to joining the Ravens as a backup in 2018. Griffin has started just once for Baltimore, in Week 17 of the 2019 season, when he led the Ravens to a 28-10 win over the Steelers.

Behind Griffin sit two possibilities. One is Trace McSorley, in his second year out of Penn State. McSorley’s status for Week 12 is uncertain after placement on the COVID-19/reserve list last week. He was activated Tuesday, but it’s unsure if he’ll be ready to suit up. Baltimore also could promote quarterback Tyler Huntley from the practice squad. Huntley played at Utah and joined the Ravens as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft.

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