| FTBL Nick Saban: Jaylen Waddle 'wants to try to come back and play'

rick4bama

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Nick Saban: Jaylen Waddle 'wants to try to come back and play'




Every update Alabama head coach Nick Saban provides on wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, who suffered a fractured ankle against Tennessee on Oct. 24, is more positive than the last.

Initially ruling Waddle out for the rest of the season during a halftime interview with CBS Sports in Knoxville, Saban said Thursday during his weekly radio show that the electric wide receiver recently lobbied to return to action later this season should his injury recover by then.

“He’s doing great. He really is,” Saban said. “I actually talked to him for a minute today. He was out at practice. He got his cast off today, so he’s in a boot. Now they can start -- not doing running type stuff but -- just rehabbing, massaging, doing some range of motion type stuff that will keep the atrophy down, in those kind of injuries are the most difficult things.

“We’re very encouraged. Everybody thinks he’s doing really, really well. He’s had a great attitude about it, and he’s gonna work hard. He told me that he wants to try to come back and play, but we’re certainly not gonna let that happen until he’s fully 100-percent healthy.”

In four games, Waddle was responsible for 557 yards and four touchdowns on 25 catches for an average of 22.28 yards per reception. He entered the game against the Vols with four straight 100-yard receiving games. At the time, Waddle ranked fourth nationally in receiving yards and eighth in yards per catch entering the fifth game of the 10-game, SEC-only season.

The All-American was replaced at receiver and punt returner by Slade Bolden, who has seen an increased role. But “you can’t replace a guy like Jaylen Waddle,” Saban said. The chances that Waddle returns this season are slim, but a player of his caliber would be a welcomed addition to the lineup if the Crimson Tide is ultimately in a position to play for a national title.

“It’s no different than losing Allen Iverson, a guy that scores 30-40 points a game. He’s that kind of impact player,” Saban said. “But we can do the things that (Bolden) can do well, and he doesn’t need to be anybody but himself. We don’t put expectations on him. We just want him to be the best player that he can be relative to what he can do.


“And how can we get some of our other players at the receiver position to step up and also do some things that they’re capable of doing that would help us be able to continue to have success with the receivers that we have and the passing game that we’ve had so far and the balance that we try to create with that passing game on offense.”
 

Crimson&WhiteGecko

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The very idea that Waddle possibly makes it back for the playoffs creates a real preparation problem for any opponent, regardless if he actually makes it back.
 

musso

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I still hate that he was returning kicks in a non-critical situation in a non-postseason game. You have arguably the nation's best receiver with questionable depth at that position, and you're playing him in the most violent play in football -- kick offs. It's not like he's built like a Julio or Amari either -- he's rather diminutive. Hope everyone else at WR remains healthy!
 

Davestwin

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He might be able to run straight line sprints with speed but there’s no way he will able to make cuts by season’s end. I imagine if he comes back it’s as others have said ... as a decoy. I’m happy his draft stock wasn’t affected but it would have been fun to have seen what he could have done in a complete (COVID) season. He’s the most electric player I’ve seen at Bama since Prothro.
 

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