Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson could return from his knee injury next week, but it could come down to the team's playoff standing, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
The Ravens want to test him in "football-related movements" before clearing him to return, but Rapoport noted "a decision also could depend on where things stand in the playoff picture."
At 9-5, Baltimore is currently the No. 5 seed in the AFC. It could clinch a playoff berth in some scenarios in Week 16. The team might be more cautious with Jackson if it is already guaranteed to make the postseason and the AFC North is out of reach.
Conversely, a loss Saturday against the Atlanta Falcons could push the Ravens to use Jackson sooner.
The 2019 MVP sprained the PCL in his knee in a Week 13 win over the Denver Broncos and was later categorized as week-to-week by head coach John Harbaugh, who would not rule him out for the season. Jackson went on to miss Weeks 14 and 15, while Tyler Huntley started in his place.
Any injury to Jackson is cause for concern, especially for a Ravens squad that has relied on him heavily this year. The 25-year-old has completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 2,242 yards and 17 touchdowns against seven interceptions in 12 games. He has also rushed for 764 yards and three scores.
Baltimore is 1-1 in Jackson's absence this season, although Huntley has thrown zero touchdown passes in two starts and has only one rushing score.
The 24-year-old Utah product also started four games for Baltimore in 2021 and appeared in seven games overall. He completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 1,081 yards and three touchdowns against four interceptions, in addition to rushing for 294 yards and two scores.