Saturday night saw a sight nobody ever wants to see. A cart and stretcher came out for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback John Wolford after he took a hard hit in the third quarter that caused his head and neck to land awkwardly on the turf.
Wolford took a shot from Jets defensive tackle Jalyn Holmes, who landed on the quarterback's head after taking him down. It was a clean hit, but one that had an unfortunate ripple effect that saw the game come to a complete standstill for several minutes.
After being stretchered off the field, Wolford was taken to a local hospital but was discharged in time to make the trip back to Tampa with the team.
Our first good sign that things might not be as bad as they seemed was when Wolford gave an emphatic thumb's up gesture while strapped to a backboard on the cart. Another sign came on Tuesday when Wolford officially rejoined the Bucs at practice.
Buccaneers News: John Wolford returns top practice after scary injury
Wolford made a triumphant return to practice on Tuesday, although he didn't fully suit up for a total return to action.
This comes just three days after he was on a cart being taken away from the field after the hit from Holmes. Early indications were that the injury wasn't as significant as it seemed, but Wolford has been open about his struggles to stay healthy through carious neck issues during his career.
It seems a worst-case scenario was thankfully avoided, which is good news on a number of levels. Wolford's health comes first, but he's also being counted on by Dave Canales to be an important part of the Bucs quarterback room this season. With Baker Mayfield expected to be the starter and Kyle Trask undergoing a crash course year of studying, Wolford figures to be a veteran leader that both quarterbacks will likely lean on throughout the season.