FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Nick Mangold took a big step toward playing again for the New York Jets.
The veteran center was limited at practice Thursday, the first time he participated in team drills since injuring his neck late in New York’s loss at New England on Oct. 25.
That has the Jets feeling optimistic that Mangold could be back to start Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I sure plan on it,” the six-time Pro Bowler said.
He said he was “pretty close” to playing last week at Oakland, but doctors advised against that. Backup Wesley Johnson made the start in his place and was mostly solid.
“There were no major gaffes in the ballgame, so to me, that was encouraging that he could go out there and play and get us through a game,” offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said. “He’s not Nick Mangold, but there’s very few of those out there.”
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall (toe/ankle) was also limited at practice, while wide receiver Eric Decker (left knee), safety Calvin Pryor (sprained left ankle) and guard Willie Colon (knee) sat out.
Decker has already said he expects to play, while Marshall declined to comment Wednesday about his injuries. Jeremy Kerley and Kenbrell Thompkins could see increased roles if either Decker or Marshall is sidelined.
As expected, quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick (left thumb) and Geno Smith (left shoulder) were again full participants Thursday. Fitzpatrick is still on track to start Sunday against Jacksonville despite a torn thumb ligament.
“When you play with your hand taped up, you face a little bit of limitation, but the mechanics of quarterback look almost the same,” Gailey said. “He’ll be limited a little bit, because of the protection on his hand, but it hasn’t made a difference in practice.”
When asked to specify what types of limitations Fitzpatrick might have, Gailey clarified that it might just be a bit awkward for the quarterback to wear a protective glove when he’s not used to having anything on his hand during games.
“You just don’t have the full range of everything, but he’s adjusted very well,” Gailey said. “That’s probably a better way to say it: He’s adjusted very well, so I’m not staying awake at night.”
Rookie wide receiver Devin Smith (foot) was limited after sitting out Wednesday. Cornerback Buster Skrine (shoulder/hand) and running back Bilal Powell (ankle) were also limited, while tight end Kellen Davis (hand) was a full participant a day after he was limited.
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