When the New York Jets host the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, there’s a very real possibility that the Jets will be without a familiar face on their defense: inside linebacker Bart Scott.
One of the toughest guys in the league, Scott has been fighting through a hyperextended toe, an injury that he suffered back in the Jets’ Week 3 win in Miami. For a month, he’s played injured, but the Jets need him 100%.
“That injury is a tough one,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “The toe injury — that could have kept him out the last three weeks, it really could have. But he’s that kind of guy, he’s going to push all the way.”
The problem now is that the injury is not getting better, which means that Mr. “Can’t Wait” may have to do just that.
“There’s always the possibility that he re-aggravated it or something,” Ryan said. “I don’t believe that to be the case, but he’s sore as heck right now. There’s no question about that.”
If it were up to Scott, he’d be out there. High pain tolerance is nothing new for a guy who’s made a living as a human wrecking ball, barreling into offensive linemen and fullbacks with reckless abandon.
Scott revealed this week that for the past month, he’s been playing with a cleat on his right foot over a size larger than the cleat on his left foot, in order to make room for the wrapping over his injured toe.
The hardest thing for Scott right now is stopping and changing direction once he’s moving and, for a linebacker, that’s a major problem. That’s why Scott may have to sit – he needs to be at his best, or he’s not helping the team.
“Normally I’d like to keep Bart out there,” Ryan said. “But if he can’t change direction in space like he normally can then we’ve got to do what we think is best for the football team. But if Bart’s healthy, Bart will be out there.”
Unfortunately, his chances of improving enough to suit up are getting increasingly grim.
For the first time in 120 games, Bart Scott may be in street clothes.
“Whatever’s best for the team, I don’t care about the streak,” Scott said. “I care about helping my teammates and trying to win a championship. That’s always been my primary goal and why I came here.”
“If helping the team is best for me to be on the sideline and help these young linebackers, see what’s going on and help slow the game down for them, then I’ll do that. If it’s biting down and jacking my toe some more so we can get to the bye 3-1 in our division, that’s what I’ll do. Pain is really not an issue for me, I can deal with it.”
It’s no secret that Scott’s specialty is run defense. Last week, against the pass-happy New England Patriots, Scott was only on the field for 9 snaps, as rookie Demario Davis got his first career start in his place.
Davis is the Bart Scott’s heir-apparent at the inside linebacker spot alongside David Harris, but he’s still a rookie.
The Jets are at their best with Bart Scott on the field. But until he’s all healed up, the Jets may sit him down.