FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets' beleaguered secondary took a big hit Monday, with the confirmation that cornerback Dee Milliner has a torn Achilles tendon and will be lost for the remainder of the season.
Milliner, the ninth overall draft pick in 2013, was injured on a freakish, non-contact play in Sunday's loss to the Denver Broncos. Rushing out of a three-point stance to block a field goal -- he rarely plays on special teams -- he crumpled to the turf as soon as he exploded out of his stance.
The rehab period for a torn Achilles tendon generally is six to nine months, meaning Milliner, who has been placed on IR, will miss the entire offseason and possibly the start of training camp.
It's a crushing blow for the Jets' undermanned secondary.
Coach Rex Ryan experienced a slip of the tongue, momentarily referring to Milliner in the past tense.
"Dee Milliner was going to be ... is going to be an outstanding player," he said. "I know he hasn't been out there as much as we would've liked, but the young man has tons of talent. It's just a matter of him staying healthy."
Ryan said the loss of Milliner "hurts, there's no doubt about it. You move on."
Milliner wasn't the only New York player to be lost for the season, as left guard Brian Winters was placed on IR with a torn ACL. He will be replaced by Oday Aboushi, who has no career starts and has played only 33 regular-season snaps in his career.
To replace Winters on the roster, the Jets claimed guard Wesley Johnson off waivers from the Steelers.
Coming off an uneven rookie year, Milliner was considered the Jets' No. 1 cornerback. Their offseason plan was based on their belief that he'd be good enough in his second year to cover the opponent's No. 1 receiver on a weekly basis.
But he got off to a slow start, suffering a high ankle sprain early in training camp. He returned in Week 2 but ended up missing the next two games because of a quadriceps injury. Milliner finished the season with only three games played.
The Jets drafted Milliner despite a long history with injuries. At Alabama, he underwent five surgeries, including a shoulder operation that sidelined him through the draft and his rookie offseason. Every team was aware of his medical background, yet the Jets felt confident in his durability, noting that he missed only one game in college due to injury.
Milliner became the second Jets cornerback to suffer a season-ending injury. In camp, on the same day Milliner hurt his ankle, rookie Dexter McDougle tore an ACL.
Veteran Dimitri Patterson, a free-agent acquisition whom the Jets projected as a starter, was released in the preseason after going AWOL from the team.
To replace Milliner, the Jets signed veteran free agent Josh Thomas, who was released last week by the Seattle Seahawks. Thomas, a fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2011, has played a total of 41 games for the Carolina Panthers and Seahawks. He has one career interception and two fumble recoveries. He played only six defensive snaps in three games with the Seahawks this season.