Saban says Jaylen Waddle will be a 'game-time decision' against Ohio State
The continuous barrage of questions centered around Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle continued Thursday as Nick Saban took to the podium for his virtual press conference.
Saban said he doesn’t have a “crystal ball” to know whether Waddle will be able to play in next week’s national championship game against Ohio State but stated the star receiver has worked out the past two days in practice.
“His status for the game is relatively up in the air and will probably be a game-day decision,” Saban said. “... The issue with injuries is when a guy does practice, how does he respond to the workload? Sometimes if a guy practices one day and gets sore the next, you can’t practice him the next day, so you just keep trying to build up his workload to where he might be able to play. So, that’s a work in progress right now, and you really can’t predict where he might be, and then other guys seem to get stronger, every day they practice, they get a little bit better.
“This is something we’re trying to evaluate but not anything that we can make any kind of prediction on at this point.”
Waddle, who fractured his ankle during the opening kickoff against Tennessee on Oct. 24, is one of Alabama’s most dynamic weapons. Over four full games before his injury, the junior receiver recorded 557 yards and four touchdowns on 25 receptions. He also held punt return and kick return duties on special teams.
Waddle rejoined the team for practice on Tuesday. During Wednesday’s media session, several Alabama players provided positive reports, stating he looked good during workouts.
“I think he's getting back into it,” fellow receiver DeVonta Smith. “Of course, he's going to take some time just for him to get back comfortable with everything, but he looks good to me.”
Added quarterback Mac Jones: “It would be really cool (to get him back). Jaylen has worked really hard to get back on the field and I know he wants nothing more than to play, but I think they're just going to make that decision downstairs. But it's his choice, and I feel like in watching him, he looks really good out there. So we'll see what happens.”
Alabama will play Ohio State in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on Monday in Miami Gardens, Fla.