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Alabama coach Nick Saban: WR Jaylen Waddle could return for CFP title game

Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) hasn't played since suffering a fractured right ankle on the opening kickoff against Tennessee on Oct. 24. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI
Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) hasn't played since suffering a fractured right ankle on the opening kickoff against Tennessee on Oct. 24. File Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban said Tuesday that junior wide receiver Jaylen Waddle has a chance to play against Ohio State in next week's College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

Saban told ESPN that Waddle has been cleared to practice this week, but he noted the team needs "to see him in practice" before making a decision.

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"He's been running, but we need to see him in practice," Saban said. "Our medical people will evaluate him as the week goes on and make a decision from there. He wants to play and has been working hard to get back."

Waddle hasn't played since suffering a fractured right ankle on the opening kickoff against Tennessee on Oct. 24.

Before his injury, Waddle caught 25 passes in five games and had four receiving touchdowns. The speedy wideout also was a return specialist for the Crimson Tide. He has averaged 19.3 yards on punt returns during his three seasons at Alabama.

In Waddle's absence, fellow receiver DeVonta Smith stepped into a prominent role. Smith has shattered multiple records and currently leads the country with 20 touchdown receptions this season. He was awarded the 2020 Heisman Memorial Trophy on Tuesday night in a virtual ceremony.

The Crimson Tide and Buckeyes will meet at 8 p.m. EST on Monday in the CFP finale.

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