Thursday night’s matchup between the New York Jets and New England Patriots has no shortage of storylines, including several injury question marks that will have major implications for both the game and fantasy.
Of particular note are injuries to several of the Jets’ key offensive weapons. Here’s an updated look at New York’s offensive players from an injury perspective heading into Thursday’s game:
Geno Smith, ankle (P): It’s widely known that Mark Sanchez won’t be playing for quite a while as he sits out with a shoulder injury -- which may have him going under the knife in the near future. The Jets plan on having Smith under center, and his presence on the injury report does nothing to threaten his status.
However, it does remind us that Smith suffered an ankle injury in the preseason, an injury that is not completely behind him. Smith injured his ankle in the team’s first preseason game and struggled in practice the following week. He sat out the team’s second preseason game but was able to return shortly thereafter and ultimately start in the Jets’ regular-season opener.
In the Jets' Week 1 victory, Smith moved well and managed to amass 47 rushing yards. However, his presence on the injury report tells us the ankle is not yet fully healthy. It should be noted that he practiced in full every day this week. While the ankle is not expected to limit him, it could be a factor if he were to aggravate it Thursday night.
Santonio Holmes, foot (P): Holmes was surprisingly active for Week 1. I say “surprisingly” after a preseason during which, no matter how much progress the Jets said Holmes was making following foot surgery, he never seemed to express confidence.
Holmes suffered a more severe form of a Lisfranc injury, and it is not surprising that his comfort with higher-level activities is slow to return. Running at full speed, decelerating quickly, cutting sharply and pivoting all put high demand on the foot -- and it can take time to return to form. In Week 1, Holmes was on the field for a hefty 44 snaps but was targeted just three times, netting one reception for 13 yards. He was listed as a limited participant in practice this week, but the probable designation indicates the team expects to have him available Thursday night.
What is unclear is how much Holmes will play just four days after his first outing following surgery and how significant his contributions will be in Week 2. In the meantime, teammate and fellow WR Jeremy Kerley is out for Thursday’s game with a concussion.
Chris Ivory, thumb (P): Ivory was a full participant in practice throughout the week and is expected to play Thursday night.
Bilal Powell, shoulder (P): Powell was also a full participant throughout the week, and he too will be available Thursday.
Kellen Winslow, knee (P): Winslow did not participate in practice on Monday or Wednesday, and on Tuesday, he took part on a limited basis (note that Tuesday is considered the most significant practice day in prep for a Thursday night game). It’s also worth keeping in mind that Winslow has an extensive history of multiple knee surgeries and, as a result, taking days off are well warranted -- especially during a short week. The probable tag tells us that the Jets plan on him playing.