New York Jets running back Thomas Jones has a strained right calf muscle and is expected to be out one to two weeks, according to a person with knowledge of the injury. Jones, who got hurt Sunday in practice, had an MRI yesterday that did not show any serious damage.He will miss Friday’s preseason game against the Vikings, but the injury is not season ending.
Eric Mangini did not discuss the details of Jones’ injury yesterday, saying only that Jones had hurt the “lower leg.” Though at practice, Jones did not talk to the media. Keeping with his policy of not revealing injury information, Mangini said little more.
“I can tell you that Thomas is working extremely hard and he will be back as quickly as he can,” Mangini said. “Thomas has a pretty strong track record. He’s only missed three games in I can’t tell you how many opportunities. He’s pretty durable.”
Drew Rosenhaus, Jones’ agent, told The Associated Press that Jones had told him he was “confident he would be ready” for the Jets’ opener against New England Sept. 9.
Stepping in for Jones with the first-team offense will be second-year speedster, RB Leon Washington (Florida State), who last year led the team in rushing with 650 yards. He is a reliable target in the passing game and has the breakaway ability to take it to the house. Washington, unlike Jones, has the game changing “wheels”, being a threat to go the distance, at any given time in the game.
He will be give the New York Jets rushing attack all that they need filling in for Jones and might be able to make this a battle for the #1 spot if he plays well enough. Washington is younger, faster, more elusive, and gives New York a different, look (change-of-pace RB) in the pass department. He can showcase his skills the rest of the pre-season by showing coaches his willingness to want the starting job.
At the RB position this season, Washington may not end up as the starter this season (probably next year) but he can steal some carries and provide a lift as a key third-down back for the Jets, giving Jones more than a breather/rest, keeping him fresh in ’07.