Tim Tebow has fractured ribs

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tim Tebow fractured two ribs during an offensive play in the Jets' game at Seattle two weeks ago, but he was dressed and available for New York against New England at MetLife Stadium on Thursday night.

"I had to do a little bit of talking just to dress but I just want to be there for my teammates in case they needed me in an emergency situation," Tebow said after the Jets' 49-19 loss to the Patriots.

The Jets' backup quarterback was active but did not play either at quarterback or as punt protector as starter Mark Sanchez struggled. Third-string quarterback Greg McElroy was not on the active roster.

Jets coach Rex Ryan said Tebow's condition worsened throughout the week and his breathing was affected. Tebow took part in three offensive plays last weekend in St. Louis and has practiced fully despite the pain. He has been on the injury report.

"It just seemed like a couple of days ago I was noticing," Ryan said, "I'm like, man, you could tell he was hurting, and it never sounded like he was, you know maybe a little, his breathing was a little different. I was standing there and I was like, well shoot, I'm not going to play this kid. I wouldn't play my son if it was that kind of situation, but to Tim's credit, he wanted to be there for his team."

Tebow said his ribs need rest to heal, but he isn't sure how long that will take. Last year in a playoff game against the Patriots, Tebow said he broke a rib but took the offseason to heal. He said he wasn't sure when he suffered the injury against Seattle.

"(I) didn't really notice; I kept playing and started to feel it later," he said.

Last season as the quarterback in Denver, Tebow led his team to the playoffs. This season, he has been used sparingly. Again Thursday, fans chanted for him to come in the game as the Jets gave up five touchdowns in the second quarter.

Between his limited role and now injury, Tebow was asked if this season has been personally disappointing.

"I didn't know what to expect so everything has been new for me and just trying to handle every situation as best I can," Tebow said.

Tebow was playing catch before the game, but the left-hander has been throwing with his right hand to avoid discomfort. Ryan was asked why he didn't activate McElroy.

"All through the week (Tim) had practiced as the backup quarterback, and the thought did go through my mind to possibly deactivate him," Ryan said. "But when he came out here, he felt that if he had to go he could get it done, and that was my decision."

Asked about the Cardinals game on Dec. 2, Tebow said he expected to be ready to go whenever the Jets need him.

"I was ready to go if they needed me. I was not ideal," Tebow said, "but I wanted to be there for my teammates."