NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Nick Mangold might have to sit this one out.
An MRI exam Monday revealed that the Jets’ All-Pro center has a high ankle sprain that could sideline him for at least this Sunday’s game against the Raiders.
“I would say his status for the game, I would assume, (is) very iffy,” coach Rex Ryan said. “I don’t think it looks very good as far as playing this week.”
Mangold injured his right ankle in the first quarter of the Jets’ 32-3 victory over Jacksonville on Sunday. He had just made a solid block on a 7-yard run by Shonn Greene when he went down as the Jaguars’ Daryl Smith rolled into his leg.
He limped into the locker room for X-rays, which were negative, but didn’t return. He left the stadium on crutches and his foot in a boot.
“Very frustrating,” Mangold said after the game. “It’s not what I want. It’s not what I expected. It’s difficult.”
High ankle sprains usually take a few weeks to heal, so it appears Mangold’s streak of starting all 82 regular-season games since he was drafted in 2006 is in serious jeopardy.
“He thinks he can go,” Ryan said. “We’ll see how it progresses. I wouldn’t count him out. He’s a tough guy, but the trainers will always do what’s in the best interest of the player and we’ll never put a guy out there that shouldn’t be out there. With that said, I think it’s iffy whether he plays or not, with all due respect to Nick.”
Mangold was replaced by rookie Colin Baxter, an undrafted free agent originally signed by San Diego. Baxter will likely get the start if Mangold can’t go, as expected.
“It’s crazy, man,” Baxter said. “It just goes to show that if you just keep working at it, you’ll get your shot.”
Ryan said Baxter did “a great job” after having to take over as the center against Jacksonville, despite having not practiced snapping to quarterback Mark Sanchez until a few on the sideline just before he entered the game. There was one bad snap early, but Baxter otherwise seemed to play well.
“He stepped in and did the best he could with the position he was in,” right guard Brandon Moore said.
Baxter was signed by the Chargers out of the University of Arizona, where he was regarded one of the top prospects at his position, was waived on Sept. 3 and claimed by the Jets the next day. He said he’ll lean on Mangold and the rest of the offensive linemen as well as offensive line coach Bill Callahan this week and prepare as if he’s going to start.
“I’ve got to do a lot this week,” Baxter said. “I’ve been doing a lot out there with Coach after practice, working on sets and technique. I’m in there with Rob (Turner) after meetings, going over books and going over it at home, here, the hotel.”
Starting left guard Matt Slauson would be Baxter’s backup Sunday if Mangold doesn’t play. Baxter is actually the team’s third-string center behind Mangold and the injured Turner, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Jets will look elsewhere to find a veteran center to fill in for Mangold.
“I’m comfortable with the guys we have,” Ryan said. “I feel good about who we have.”
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