FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — It’s all up to Nick Mangold’s neck now.
The New York Jets center sat out practice for the second straight day with a sore neck, but is still expecting to play against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
“I feel like unless I’m laying there bleeding out, I’ll be able to play,” Mangold said Thursday. “If things happen and I can’t play, I’ll deal with that at that time. Right now, I’m planning on playing.”
Mangold left late in the fourth quarter of the Jets’ 30-23 loss at New England last Sunday after he was hit in the head by a Patriots defender during a play. Mangold remained face-down on the ground for a few moments as the medical staff attended to him.
“Just a scary time,” he said before smiling. “I won’t let you get into the dark recesses of my mind.”
Mangold made it clear he was concerned by the injury, but wouldn’t say whether he immediately feared that he could be paralyzed.
“That’s why it was as difficult as it was for me,” he said. “It was a new phenomenon. I had to come to grips with that.”
Mangold says he’s now feeling “peachy,” but acknowledged he still feels “things” in his neck — without elaborating on whether that means general soreness or pain. He wouldn’t rule out playing against the Raiders even if he doesn’t practice Friday.
“Yeah, I’ve done that before,” he said. “It all just depends on how things respond and seeing how I feel.”
An X-ray, MRI and CT scan all came back negative on Mangold’s neck earlier in the week. The six-time Pro Bowl selection was also reminded of his reputation for being a tough guy.
“I don’t know where you’re getting this pain-threshold business,” he said, smiling. “You should talk to my wife. Thinks I’m a big, old baby.”
Dakota Dozier and Wesley Johnson have been splitting the snaps at center this week. Dozier filled in for three snaps in Mangold’s place against the Patriots last week.
Mangold, in his 10th season, has missed just three games in his NFL career: two in 2011 because of a high ankle sprain and last year’s season finale, also because of an ankle injury.
“Nick is an honest guy and we trust everything he says,” coach Todd Bowles said. “But we’ve got to get a better feel from him when he talks to us and we’ll go from there.’
In other injuries, safety Calvin Pryor (sprained ankle) and wide receivers Devin Smith (ankle) and Chris Owusu (concussion, shoulder) did not practice.
After not practicing Wednesday, wide receiver Eric Decker (knee), running back Bilal Powell (sprained ankle) and right guard Willie Colon (knee) were limited, as was cornerback Buster Skrine (shoulder, broken finger).
Running back Stevan Ridley remains on the physically unable to perform list while coming back from a knee injury, but has been fully practicing this week.
“He looks better this week than he did last week, and I think he’s more comfortable running now,” offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said. “He was a little ginger the first few times. It’s been better lately. He seems to be running with more confidence and doing things with more confidence. He looks pretty good to me.”
Running back Chris Ivory has also been a full participant at practice and said his hamstring, which hindered him against the Patriots, feels completely healthy. Ivory, seventh in the NFL with 501 yards rushing, was held to 41 on 17 carries last Sunday.
NOTES: With Owusu out while going through the NFL’s concussion protocol, ST coordinator Bobby April said RB Zac Stacy will serve as the Jets’ kickoff returner. Stacy has averaged 21.8 yards on eight returns. … Gailey acknowledged that rookie WR Devin Smith is “struggling integrating into the whole system.” Smith missed several weeks with broken ribs early in training camp, and now has a sprained ankle. Gailey also attributed the second-round draft pick’s struggles to having to learn a new system from the one he was in at Ohio State. “I think you would have to give him the benefit of the doubt that he is going to get it eventually,” Gailey said. “It goes back to, if he continue to work at it, he’ll be fine.”
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