The Jets got some bad news on right tackle Damien Woody and his injured left knee.
Woody will have surgery to repair a partial tear in his MCL, an injury he originally suffered November 21 in a win against the Texans.
Woody had been playing nearly every snap of every game since then, albeit without practicing much, if at all, in the weeks following the injury.
He aggravated the injury early in the first quarter against the Dolphins and is expected to miss the rest of the regular season.
If the Jets can clinch a playoff spot, Woody might be able to give it a go on Wild Card weekend, the second week of January.
It’s a big loss for the Jets, who have had their entire offensive line in tact for nearly every snap of every game for the last few years. Backup tackle Wayne Hunter will get the start after playing nearly the entire game against the Dolphins and struggling at times against NFL sack leader Cameron Wake.
It doesn’t get any easier against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears the next two weeks. Hunter will have his hands full and the Jets would be wise to give him some help against guys like Lamarr Woodley, Troy Polamalu and company on Sunday, not to mention the fearsome Bears defenders the following week.
Safety Eric Smith also went down with an injury on Sunday, this time with a concussion that could keep him out for the Steelers game and then some. Smith has a history of concussions so there’s no telling how long he could be out. He is listed as doubtful as of now, but he may be downgraded to out sometime before kickoff on Sunday.
The Jets will have to rely on some combination of Brodney Pool, Dwight Lowery and James Ihedigbo at the safety spots for the time being. I would expect undrafted rookie Emmanuel Cook to be in the mix as well, as the Jets really are low on options at this point.
It’s going to be a struggle for the Jets to survive these injuries, but the backups are going to need to step up and do their part. If they don’t pull their weight, it could be an ugly December for Gang Green.