Hilliard, who missed the first two preseason games due to a rib injury, left the practice field Tuesday in severe pain. Afterward, Jets coach Rex Ryan mentioned a possible shoulder dislocation. Hilliard was put on injured reserve on Wednesday, and the Jets filled his roster spot by signing wide receiver Marcus Rucker.
Even if he had remained healthy, Hilliard would have been hard-pressed to retain his roster spot. Rookie Tommy Bohanon, a seventh-round pick from Wake Forest, has impressed the coaching staff and is in line to win the starting job.
Hilliard signed a one-year, $780,000 contract in the offseason, one of the few unrestricted free agents retained by new general manager John Idzik. He carried the ball only eight times for 31 yards for the Jets last season, also catching four passes for 23 yards.
Pro Football Talk earlier reported the surgery.