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Jets ponder QB situation after Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith injuries

New York Jets quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith are day-to-day with thumb and shoulder injuries, respectively, meaning the team may be forced to start rookie Bryce Petty against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

An MRI on Monday confirmed a torn ligament in Fitzpatrick's non-throwing thumb. He will require surgery at some point, said coach Todd Bowles, who nevertheless didn't rule him out as the starter this week.

Bowles said Fitzpatrick's availability will be based, in large part, on pain tolerance.

Smith, too, underwent tests on his non-throwing shoulder, and they revealed a "big bruise," said Bowles, adding there was no structural damage.

Asked his confidence level in Smith or Fitzpatrick being able to play Sunday, Bowles said: "Right now, not very high. It's Monday, the day after. The guys are pretty sore. I'll have a better feel on Wednesday."

Petty, a fourth-round pick from Baylor, will get practice reps Wednesday. He has yet to appear in a game.

The Jets are strongly considering adding a veteran quarterback as Tuesday's trade deadline approaches. Free agent Matt Flynn, who spent three weeks on the roster in training camp, also is a possibility, Bowles said.

Fitzpatrick and Smith were both injured Sunday in the Jets' 34-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders. Bowles was unhappy because he felt both quarterbacks could have avoided contact by sliding or, in Smith's case, running out of bounds instead of inviting a hit.

The Jets (4-3) have reached a crossroads in their season. They've dropped two straight and their quarterback situation is a multiple-choice question. It's so wide open that Bowles didn't rule out the possibility of the yet-to-be-acquired quarterback starting this week, although that seems remote.

Fitzpatrick, who emerged as a team leader soon after ascending to the starting job in August when Smith's jaw was broken in a locker-room altercation, appears unlikely to play this week.

On Sunday, Fitzpatrick said he couldn't grip the ball with his left hand. Bowles sounded skeptical of Fitzpatrick's ability to take snaps from center and use his left hand on handoffs.

"I don't think it gets any worse [by playing], but I don't know how much better it's going to get, either," Bowles said. "It's just a matter of how much pain he's going to be in."

Smith's chances are helped because it's his non-throwing shoulder, but "you're still a little bit wary" because he could make it worse with another hit, Bowles said.

Smith, who replaced Fitzpatrick on the first series of the games, said afterward he was "pretty confident" he'd be able to play against the Jaguars. Bowles said there's "a chance," but only if Smith progresses during the week.

Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey will be forced to devise different game plans this week, based on the different quarterback options. He'd have to scale back the offense if someone other than Smith or Fitzpatrick starts.

There's also some question as to whether wide receiver Brandon Marshall (ankle, toe) and center Nick Mangold (neck), two of their best players, will be able to play this week.