Rapoport called it a "very good sign" the USC product practiced without limitation this week, and he noted Darnold could have played in the last game against the Tennessee Titans had the team not been "extremely cautious."
New York turned to Josh McCown during Darnold's absence, and the 39-year-old struggled on his way to a combined one touchdown pass and four interceptions. He completed 55 percent of his passes and failed to throw for 200 yards in two of the three contests, all losses.
One of those defeats was a 41-10 blowout to the Bills in early November, quarterbacked by fellow Trojan Matt Barkley at the time.
The caution with the rookie makes sense since the Jets are 3-9 and will miss the playoffs for the eighth straight season. Darnold at least offers some hope for the future after the AFC East franchise selected him with the No. 3 overall pick.
Darnold has completed 55 percent of his passes for 1,934 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in nine games, and he'll go up against fellow first-round rookie Josh Allen, who is coming off two quality games in a row.