FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — It might be Elijah McGuire’s turn to step in as the New York Jets’ starting running back.
Bilal Powell sat out practice Wednesday with a strained calf after injuring during the Jets’ 17-14 win at Cleveland last Sunday. His status for New York’s game Sunday against New England is uncertain.
He started New York’s last two games in place of Matt Forte, who is dealing with turf toe. Forte was limited in practice Wednesday, which is an improvement from the last two weeks when he didn’t participate at all in team drills.
“We’ll see how it goes and it would be great to have Matt,” quarterback Josh McCown said. “Just to have his veteran presence out there when you’re going against a team that can scheme and do things. Just to have another guy that has been in your system for a while and knows it, it’s helpful.”
But if neither Powell nor Forte can go Sunday, McGuire would start against the Patriots. Travaris Cadet is the only other running back currently on the active roster. The Jets signed Jahad Thomas to the practice squad as insurance.
McGuire was drafted in the sixth round out of Louisiana-Lafayette in April. He ranks second on the Jets with 176 yards rushing, 64 behind Powell. McGuire also has five catches for 55 yards.
“It’s like he’s a veteran already,” offensive coordinator John Morton said of McGuire last week. “I think he’s being coached well and we’re putting him in the right place to have success. The game’s not too big for him, I think that’s the biggest thing.”
Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson also sat out practice Wednesday. He has been dealing with a sprained shoulder, but now also has a toe injury. Neither he nor coach Todd Bowles would provide details about the new injury.
Cornerbacks Juston Burris (foot) and Darryl Roberts (hamstring) were limited, as was defensive end Kony Ealy (shoulder).
NOTES: Bowles was asked what he might say to Patriots LB David Harris, who was cut by the Jets late in the offseason: “We’re not going to kiss and go on a date. We’ll say hi,” Bowles said, laughing. “I don’t think there’s going to be time for any Dear Abby meetings on the football field. No offense.”
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