Even though he’s eligible to do so, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jarvis Jones still hasn’t been cleared to begin practicing again as he continues to rehab the wrist injury that he suffered way back in Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers.
With only five games now remaining in the regular season, Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler is still holding out hope that the former first-round draft pick will be back at some point.
“I hope he can, but we’ll see,” Butler told Scott Brown of ESPN.com. “A linebacker’s got to be able to use his hands. If he can’t use his hands, he can’t play. He’s defenseless, and we’re not going to put him on the field if he’s defenseless so we’ll see.”
Jones was immediately placed on the Steelers injured reserve/designated to return list after having surgery on his dislocated wrist and during his down time you have to wonder if he’s lost any of his strength because of him not being able to lift and workout like he would normally want to. He has, however, still been attending practices and meetings, according to Brown.
Even if Jones is able to return at some point later on in the season, you also have to wonder just how much playing time he would get now that veteran linebacker James Harrison is up to full speed and playing well. Upon his return, Jones might be limited to mostly playing on special teams as works himself back into football shape. He might also split a few snaps with Arthur Moats with the two collectively spelling Harrison on occasion.
Even though Jones was only able to play in two and half games this season prior to going down injured, Butler seems to be pleased with how he played at the start of the season.
“Jarvis was really coming on,” he said.
Personally, I doubt we’ll see Jones on the field for a few more weeks at the earliest.