Sam Darnold’s spleen is fully healthy and he’ll be back under center as the struggling Jets’ starting quarterback.
Darnold was cleared by doctors Tuesday to play after he missed three games while recovering from mononucleosis.
He had tests to determine if the swelling in his spleen — a common symptom of the illness — had dissipated enough for him to play. The Jets announced Darnold would start Sunday against Dallas.
It’s some rare good news for the Jets, who are 0-4 — their worst start since 2003 — while dealing with several injuries to key players. And Darnold’s illness is at the top of the list.
The team was optimistic last week that Darnold would be able to play at Philadelphia, which was the initial goal for his return. Darnold took first-team snaps last Wednesday and Thursday, but an ultrasound and blood test last Thursday night revealed he was not yet able to be fully cleared. So Luke Falk — on one day of full reps with the first-team offense — started his second straight game for New York.
The Jets lost, 31-6, and Falk was sacked nine times and had two turnovers returned for TDs while New York struggled to get anything going on offense.
That has been a common theme during Darnold’s absence, with Adam Gase’s offense ranking at or near the bottom of the league in several categories. New York has just 233 yards of total offense in its last two games combined. With Falk starting, the Jets had 105 against New England two weeks ago and 128 at Philadelphia.
‘‘It’s probably more than just Sam getting out there,’’ Gase said Monday. ‘‘We have a lot of other things to clean up. Sam is able to hide things sometimes for us, where if we make a mistake, he covers it up. I think we just need to do a better job as a group making sure that all 11 are on the same page.’’
Darnold was diagnosed with mono Sept. 11, three days after the opening loss to Buffalo. Backup Trevor Siemian started in Week 2 against Cleveland, but he suffered season-ending ligament damage in his left ankle in a 23-3 loss.
Falk, who had been on the practice squad until shortly before that game, started the next two games for the Jets.
The shorthanded Jets are still waiting for linebackers C.J. Mosley (groin) and Jordan Jenkins (calf) to return, and starting left guard Kelechi Osemele is dealing with knee and shoulder injuries. Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (neck) was lost for the season with a neck injury against Buffalo, further hindering the offense.
‘‘We have a lot of talent,’’ defensive lineman Leonard Williams said Monday. ‘‘We’re 0-4 right now, but the season isn’t over and we still have a lot to fight for.’’
After the game against Dallas, the Jets play the Patriots on Monday night, Oct. 21.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said quarterback Mason Rudolph ‘‘appears to be doing fine’’ but remains in the concussion protocol following an illegal hit by Ravens safety Earl Thomas. Rudolph left last Sunday’s loss to Baltimore after Thomas hit him in the chin with his helmet. Rudolph was knocked unconscious momentarily. Rookie undrafted free agent Devlin Hodges will start at QB Sunday at the Chargers if Rudolph is unable to play.