By all accounts, Mac Jones is doing his best to shorten his timeline of return from the ankle injury he suffered last weekend against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Patriots themselves also appear to be holding out hope Jones could come back sooner rather than later -- if not this week, then perhaps a few weeks shortly after.
But one doctor and physical therapist says Jones likely has a much longer road to recovery than the young quarterback and the team would like to believe.
Dr. Mason West, PT, DPT, of Team Rehabilitation in Barrington, IL said high ankle sprains like the one Jones reportedly sustained -- West agreed with that diagnosis after watching a replay of the injury -- often require more than a month of rehab without surgery.
"I would think four or five weeks is what he'd be rehabbing, and he would come back probably less functional than Patriots fans would want him to be," West said of Jones.
Tom Pelissero of NFL Media and others have reported Jones would prefer to avoid surgery if possible -- specifically, the "tightrope" surgery players like Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts and former Patriots receiver N'Keal Harry have had in the past.
Though West couldn't promise Jones could return to action in the four-week timeline Tagovailoa and Hurts did while at Alabama, he suggested Jones might come back stronger if he had the surgery versus just resting.
"If you go that 'tightrope' route, you're looking at more six to eight weeks, maybe closer to six. … So now, yes, you're losing two weeks of having Mac Jones, but you're going to come back better from that than you would if you just went the rehab route with the severity that he happens to have."
In particular, West says Jones likely has a Grade 3 high ankle sprain based on the "pretty severe" report and the way the quarterback's ankle bent when Ravens defensive lineman Calais Campbell fell on it. That level of sprain, he adds, could involve about 50 percent of the ligaments holding his ankle to his shin bones being torn.
This would leave Jones with "little to no stability" in his lower left leg, which would make it virtually impossible for the quarterback to play effectively.
"He has to transfer that weight [onto that leg] every single time he throws. He could get maybe something in the short game, but there wouldn't be anything on the ball, and he definitely wouldn't have a long ball. You just wouldn't have that. … He would have very he would have little to no mobility" West said.
Additionally, coming back too early could open Jones up to even more damage -- worsening ligament tears and possible bone fractures in the ankle, ACL tears, hip issues and potentially re-aggravating the back injury he had in Week 1, just to name a few.
With that in mind, West made sure to point out that the Patriots, to his knowledge, typically err on the side of caution when it comes to players, suggesting they might be loath to risk their second-year quarterback: "They respect their players as human beings, and they still want the best for them. And they're going to usually do what is best for the player and even if it might hurt the team in the short run."
Former Patriots offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger shared a tweet last night in the wake of Tagovailoa's terrifying concussion against the Cincinnati Bengals praising the Patriots' handling of his own head injury during his playing days: "They saved me from myself. I would've rushed back if they let me. They didn't," he recalled.
That's why, in West's estimation, it would be a "straight-up miracle" if Jones suited up for the Patriots against Green Bay on Sunday -- or even the following Sunday against Detroit at home.
It also seems as if said miracle would be far from a good thing for Jones or the Patriots.