NEW YORK (WFAN) — The Jets are in prime position to secure the final AFC wild card spot — but they’ll have to make that final push without starting safety Jim Leonhard.


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New York placed Leonhard on injured reserve Monday with a torn patellar tendon in his right knee. Surgery is planned for Wednesday morning, Leonhard disclosed to WFAN in his weekly appearance.

“It’s obviously frustrating … especially for the second year in a row,” Leonhard told Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts on Tuesday. “Really have no reasons why.”

Listen: Leonhard on “frustrating” end to season

Leonhard was helped off the field Sunday after intercepting a pass intended for Chiefs wide receiver Steve Breaston. He hit the ground almost immediately and grabbed at his leg as Jets fans feared the worst.

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“I think it was when I went to push off,” said Leonhard. “Once I saw the replay, (Breaston) didn’t really didn’t touch my knee. Obviously it went I think before he even ended up grabbing my ankle.”

The 29-year-old safety called the situation “eerily similar” to what he went through before the Jets-Patriots game last December. Leonhard missed the remainder of the 2010 season — and the playoffs — after a collision with teammate Patrick Turner during practice left him with a broken leg.

“You do realize how fast everything moves on once you do get injured,” Leonhard said. “You just want to be a part of it and do whatever you can, especially when you feel like you’re making a run again. You want to do whatever you can to help the guys out.”

Leonhard, whose three-year contract with the Jets will expire after this season, had recently taken over punt return duties from Jeremy Kerley. Asked if he’ll return to the Jets in 2012, the playmaker replied: “I hope so.”

“I’ve loved my time here,” Leonhard said. “Obviously, in my opinion you can’t beat this staff. Love to be here again — and we’ll see how it all plays out.”

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