The season is over for one of the top prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is done for the year after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured ankle, head coach Nick Saban announced.
“It’s a difficult timetable to know when a guy can come back from something like this,” Saban said (via Mike Rodak of AL.com). “That’s something that’s going to be ongoing. Probably six to eight weeks before he can even start real heavy rehab, then relative to your position, how fast you can come back after that is really, really up in the air.”
Saban didn’t explicitly rule out Waddle for the season when speaking with reporters, but the operation makes his return a near impossibility. At 5’10”, 180 pounds, Saban likened Waddle to the football version of Allen Iverson. Pro evaluators agree – Waddle’s athleticism has been on full display over the last three years, both on offense and in the return game. He put himself on the radar as a frosh in 2018 with 18.8 yards per catch. This year, he pushed his stock even further with an eye-popping 22.3 yards per grab.
The injury could prompt Waddle to return, but he’s still likely to be in the first round mix if he makes a full recovery. He’s already proven to be lethal in the slot and in the punt return game (19.3 yards per return average), so he’ll be especially coveted if he can display a full array of routes in workouts.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.