Coach Robert Saleh said Carter could be sidelined anywhere from two to four weeks, although he didn't rule out the possibility of a longer timetable. Carter, the Jets' leading rusher, was injured Sunday in a 24-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
The Jets (2-8) are hoping for the return of rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, who has missed the past four games because of a sprained right knee. Wilson, who has practiced the past two weeks on a limited basis, was evaluated Monday. After another evaluation Tuesday, the team is expected to make its quarterback decision for Sunday against the Houston Texans.
"We're going to make sure we protect this young man," Saleh said Monday. "When he's fully healthy and he feels like there's no limitations with his ability to play where he's not thinking about the knee, we'll get him back out there. But he has to be 100% healthy before we get him back on the football field."
The Jets initially called it a two-to-four-week injury. Without Wilson, the Jets started Mike White three times, then benched him in favor of Joe Flacco, who passed for 291 yards and two touchdowns against the Dolphins.
Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick, will be one of the keys to the final seven games. He mostly struggled in six starts, and the organization is hoping he can play well down the stretch to salvage something positive from the season.
Carter, a fourth-round draft pick, has emerged as the No. 1 back. He leads the team with 430 rushing yards on 111 carries, a 3.9 average. He also has been a factor in the passing game, with 32 catches for 308 yards. He leads the team with 738 yards from scrimmage.
"He's been getting better every week," Saleh said. "Every time he touches the ball, he makes someone miss. If the offensive line blocks for run for nothing, he's finding 3 yards. If they block for 5, he's finding 8, 9 and 10. He's so dynamic with the ball in his hands."