After a stellar start in the Jaguars Divisional Round matchup against the Steelers, Leonard Fournette sustained an ankle injury with a little over four minutes left in the second quarter. After speaking with Jaguars coach Doug Marrone, CBS reported Fournette will return in the third quarter, and play through the ankle injury.
Fournette limped to the sidelines, and eventually headed back to the Jaguars locker room. CBS initially reported Fournette was not able to put weight on his ankle as he headed back to the locker room, and he was listed as questionable to return against Pittsburgh.
CBS provided an additional update that Fournette’s limp improved on his way to the locker room, and did not need to go for x-rays. It is a positive sign, but does not necessarily mean Fournette will return to today’s game. Fournette has battled ankle injuries dating back to his college career at LSU. With Chris Ivory a healthy scratch, T.J. Yeldon is the only healthy Jaguars running back on the active roster unless Fournette is able to return. Fournette already had 12 carries for 82 rushing yards and two touchdowns before heading back to get the ankle looked at.
Fournette was injured on his only reception of the game as Steelers cornerback Artie Burns hit him low on a tackle. Heading into the NFL, there had been questions as to whether Fournette could be involved in an offense’s passing game. Fournette appears to have answered that with an overwhelming yes. The rookie running back finished the regular season with 36 receptions for 302 yards and a touchdown. While Fournette was not asked to catch passes out of the backfield at LSU, he has proven he is more than capable of being used in multiple ways.
Fournette rushed for 1,040 yards, nine touchdowns while averaging 3.9 yards per carry during his rookie season.
With Jacksonville up by multiple touchdowns on Pittsburgh, their ability to hold onto the lead could play a big role in their decision to get Fournette back on the field. The Louisiana native has been outspoken in his disdain for cold weather. Earlier this season, Fournette admitted he was more worried about playing in the cold (in a matchup against Cleveland) than he was his nagging ankle injury. Fournette explained to ESPN how he hates playing in cold weather.
“I hate the cold, period,” Fournette told ESPN. “I sleep in the heat. That’s just how I grew up…The little things [are what bother him the most]. You take a little hit and it hurts. You’re falling … I wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t cold. I have to get ready, that’s all.”
It is currently 19 degrees in Pittsburgh where the Jaguars-Steelers game is taking place. Heavy will continue to update you on Fournette’s status as soon as additional details are released.