Status of New York Jets' Sam Darnold (shoulder) uncertain for next game against Arizona Cardinals

The winless New York Jets may not have quarterback Sam Darnold for their next game.

Darnold has a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder, and while the injury is not believed to be serious, his availability for the Oct. 11 game against the Arizona Cardinals will hinge on whether he's able to practice next week.

"I think anything is on the table," coach Adam Gase said Friday.

"We just need to make sure we lay everything out and kind of see where we go from here, what's best for him, not just next week but long term."

Darnold was injured Thursday night on a first-quarter sack, a body slam by Denver Broncos linebacker Alexander Johnson. He stayed in for one play but then left for the locker room in obvious pain.

As it turned out, Darnold returned in the middle of the next series and played the remainder of the game, a 37-28 loss. Gase called it a "very impressive" display of toughness.

But now the Jets (0-4) have to deal with the aftereffects.

"He doesn't feel real great today," Gase said. "We just have to see what our management program is going to be with him. How does that look with practice compared to a game? I mean, we just have a lot to go through. We have to figure everything out before Wednesday."

Darnold, 23, is still a relatively inexperienced quarterback -- 30 career starts -- so he needs practice reps to be effective on game day. If he can't practice, the Jets might be inclined to go with backup Joe Flacco, 35, who made his 2020 debut while Darnold was getting examined in the locker room.

Flacco, who underwent neck surgery in April, hasn't started a game since last Oct. 27, when he played for the Broncos.

Losing Darnold would be another blow to the offense, which already has played without running back Le'Veon Bell, wide receiver Breshad Perriman and wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who returned from a hamstring injury Thursday night and recorded his second 100-yard game.

Bell (hamstring), eligible to come off injured reserve, is expected to play against the Cardinals. The Jets are less certain about Perriman (ankle) and rookie wide receiver Denzel Mims (hamstring), also eligible to be activated from IR.

The Jets have struggled to find the end zone, with only five touchdowns in four games. Of the five, three came on broken plays, including Darnold's 46-yard scramble against Denver.

Rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton also is an injury question mark. He didn't start because of a sprained capsule in his left shoulder, but he came off the bench to replace the injured Chuma Edoga (shoulder). Becton lasted only 16 snaps because he lost strength in his shoulder, Gase said.

Gase was criticized for using Becton in the first place, exposing one of his best players to the possibility of further injury.

"If he was in risk of hurting himself even further, then he wouldn't have been able to go in," Gase said. "It was really, what was his strength? How long could he last?"

Gase said it was a "pain tolerance issue, not a structural issue" with Becton, who insisted on playing once Edoga got hurt.