Mike Francesa Has Doctor Weigh in on Sam Darnold's Mono

LISTEN: Dr. Steve O'Brien Joined 'Mike's On'

September 20, 2019 - 4:45 pm

It’s not often that NFL players miss time due to infectious mononucleosis, but that’s what Sam Darnold is currently dealing with.

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The Jets quarterback missed Week 2 after being diagnosed with the illness, and it’s still unclear when he will be able to return to the field. Most people recover from mono within two to four weeks, but the effects of the illness can sometimes linger for months.

On Friday, Mike Francesa got a doctor’s opinion on when Jets fans can expect Darnold back in action. Dr. Steve O’Brien joined “Mike’s On” and explained the possible risk of the second-year QB returning at all this season.

“There’s no precedent for someone coming back in the same year,” Dr. O’Brien said on WFAN. “They should not consider any contact for at least two months, and that’s in the ordinary case. Now, in a case of an NFL situation, you have a 290-pound guy with a plastic helmet coming at full speed at an unprotected guy. I’d love to be wrong here, but if something happened to him there would be no excuse. There’s no data to argue for him (coming back this year).”

Darnold was diagnosed on Sept. 12, so as of Friday he has only missed eight days. Two months out would see the 22-year-old back sometime in the middle of November. But that two-month recommendation is supposed to be a minimum amount of resting time, so he could be out even longer depending on how his body recovers and on how his own doctors decide to treat this.

Dr. O’Brien pointed to the lack of data surrounding NFL players dealing with mono as another reason to be cautious about bringing Darnold back.

“There’s no data on this either way, and that’s the problem. What there is data on is what’s called auto-rupture. So not only can the spleen be big, but as we talked about, it can be vulnerable. And auto-rupture can be disastrous.”

Dr. O’Brien is worried about the threat to Darnold’s spleen if he were to come back soon. A ruptured spleen is a serious medical issue that can prove to be fatal in some cases.

In the meantime, the Jets will start Luke Falk at quarterback. New York’s offense struggled heavily against Cleveland without Darnold, and the opponents are only getting tougher. On Sunday, the Jets are in Foxborough to take on the Patriots.  

Francesa and O'Brien also discussed CJ Mosley, who also missed the Cleveland game and will likely be unavailable in Foxborough. 

Click on the audio player above to listen to Mike Francesa's full interview with Dr. Steve O'Brien.

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