Kenyan Drake is indeed in the concussion protocol after taking an ugly, helmet-to-helmet hit in practice Monday.
But Jay Ajayi no longer is. The “fog” in his head has lifted.
Ajayi, the Dolphins’ star running back, was cleared medically Tuesday after spending the previous two weeks recovering from a concussion of his own.
Ajayi had never been concussed before T.J. McDonald hit him in a thudding period on Aug. 1. He practiced on a limited basis over the last few days as he clearance from doctors. That news came this week.
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“It was new for me,” Ajayi said. “I was just all about getting the information and making sure I was healthy enough to get back on the field. They said that usually concussions are 7-10 days, so in about a week I was starting to feel like myself again.”
He added: “It’s frustrating because you want to be out there with your teammates practicing and grinding. It’s the time we’re all working on our craft to be better. But at the same time, it’s better that it happened now during the preseason. We’re not in the regular season yet, so I had time to just make sure I was healthy enough to be back on the field again.”
As of late Tuesday morning, the Dolphins had not made a decision on Ajayi’s availability for Thursday’s preseason game against the Ravens, but Ajayi said he wouldn’t be surprised if he does.
Adam Gase did acknowledge that Ajayi’s injury could affect how Miami uses him in the coming weeks.
“I want to see where we're at health-wise, what's best for him,” Gase said. “We kind of discussed what our plan was going into it, and now I'm just trying to figure, ‘Does he feel good enough for us to do that?"
Gase added: “When you play that position, and use how we use him, we just needed him to be ready for the regular season.”
Ajayi has “been executing really well” since his return, Gase said, but did add that the league’s fourth-leading rusher did miss out on some needed work in the passing game.
Concussions have become the league’s No. 1 health crisis, as more is learned every day about the potentially deadly long-term effects of head injuries.
Ajayi said he’s “not worried about it,” when asked about concerns about his future.
When asked to describe the worst symptoms of his concussion, Ajayi responded:
“It’s just kind of the fog that you get, not being able to concentrate, those kinds of things that happen with concussion,” Ajayi said. “That was kind of the most frustrating thing, that some days I would feel good and then maybe the symptoms would come back, so it’s just about taking your time and being patient and going through the protocol and listening to the trainers. Now I’m back on the field and I’m happy.”