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Jets' Martin to have MRI on strained right knee

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Jets running back Curtis Martin strained his right knee against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday and his status is uncertain for this week's game against Jacksonville.

Coach Herman Edwards said Monday that Martin was undergoing an MRI and would wait for
the results before determining whether the running back can play.

Martin, who led the NFL in rushing last season, was injured in
the first quarter but stayed in the game and finished with 72 yards
on 31 carries in the Jets' 17-7 victory.

"We don't know where he's at," Edwards said. "He's been a guy
that's always answered the bell. We'll see where he's at."

Losing Martin would be a huge blow for the Jets offense,
especially since both fullbacks also got hurt. Starter Jerald Sowelland B.J. Askew have sprained right ankles. If Martin can't
play, Derrick Blaylock would start.

On top of that, starting safety Erik Coleman had surgery Monday
on his right thumb, which was fractured and dislocated against the
Dolphins. His status also is up in the air. If he can't play,
Oliver Celestin would start.

The 32-year-old Martin has been one of the most consistent
running backs in NFL history, and one of the most durable. He has
missed four regular-season games in his 11-year career, and only
one with the Jets -- in 1998, when he was inactive against St. Louis
with a thigh injury.

In 2000, Martin injured the medial collateral ligament in his
knee in the season opener, then ripped the muscle away from his
tailbone later in the season. He kept playing and ended up with
1,204 yards. In 2002, Martin played most of the season with
injuries to both ankles.

He came into 2005 hoping to become the first back in league
history to start a career with 11 straight 1,000-yard seasons.

"It's always been a comfort zone knowing you have 28 [Martin]
behind you," quarterback Chad Pennington said. "I've seen him
play with two sprained ankles, I've seen him play with an MCL, I've
seen him play with a tailbone muscle ripped off his tailbone, I've
seen a bunch of different things. I had no idea he was hurt. I had
no clue; you won't hear a word from him."

Martin got hurt on the first drive of the game, when he was
tackled on a second-and-goal by Zach Thomas and was slow to get up.
Then in the second quarter, he took another shot to the knee
following a 9-yard run.

Edwards said he had no idea Martin was hurt until Monday
morning.

"It's tough but you learn that when you sit in this seat,"
Edwards said. "Every day you come into work, there's five things
you put on your desk that you don't really like but you have to
deal with. They don't cancel your games, they don't allow you to
get a bye. We have to prepare our team this week."

Edwards sounded pessimistic about Martin when he was asked about
Blaylock, who has two carries for 14 yards this season. When asked
about Blaylock's limited playing time, Edwards said, "This week he
didn't run a whole bunch. Right now it looks like he's going to run
a lot."

But with Martin, one never knows. His play has been so important
to the team, especially with Pennington struggling early in the new
offensive system. The Jets went into the season wanting to
emphasize Martin and the run, and that probably won't change no
matter who carries the ball.

His teammates are hoping for the best, especially with a tough
stretch of games looming against top defenses. After Jacksonville,
the Jets have Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Buffalo.

"We all know Curtis is a tough guy," guard Pete Kendall said.
"He's going to play if he can play. It wasn't like our jobs could
have gotten much harder anyway with these defenses coming up. It's
going to be a tough mountain to climb regardless."