Injury Outlook: Better Than Expected

Florham Park, N.J.- All teams have to be able to overcome injuries at certain points to be able to reach their ultimate goal, but yesterday the Jets had key players play through the pain of fresh injuries to step up and make big plays when they were needed most.

With the clock winding down to just under nine minutes left in overtime the Jets had the ball on third-and-nine from their own 37-yard-line when Jerricho Cotchery tore his groin while running his route. When Sanchez dropped back to pass (after he had already suffered his own injury to his calf) he danced around the pocket and made one of his many miraculous escapes from a sack and he noticed Cotchery motioning to him that he was hurt.

Jerricho Cotchery made one of the gutsiest plays Rex Ryan has ever seen, when he tore his groin then proceeded to make a diving catch. But Cotchery's status for next week is up in the air. (Jetsinsider.com Photo).

Clearly Sanchez didn’t care as he threw the pass anyway and he threw it far too wide, but the hobbled Cotchery launched himself horizontally in the air and somehow snatched the ball before it hit the ground all while managing to shift the ball into his left hand and spin his body so the ball didn’t touch the ground, for a Jets first-down.

“Jerricho gets hurt, sees me scrambling. Motions to me that he’s hurt (laughing) and I’m pointing to him to keep running, the guy responds, makes a diving catch, leaves his body out there and secures the ball.” Sanchez said after the game.

“And I will say this too about Jerricho Cotchery, that might have been the gutsiest play I’ve seen in a long time.” Ryan said last night, “He pulls his groin, then he catches the football. It wasn’t that he caught it first and pulled his groin, he pulled his groin then he goes and makes an unbelievable catch to keep that drive going for us. Just and huge play and that’s playing like a Jet.”

Today potentially worried Jets fans will be relieved to hear the better than expected news along the injury front.

Cotchery went in for an MRI on the injured groin today and told ESPN’s Rich Cimini, that surgery is not in their plans and they hope extra treatment will heal the injury. “The doctors want to see how I respond to the treatment.” Cotchery told ESPN, “We’re going to take it on a day-by-day basis and go from there… I feel a lot better than I felt (Sunday) night. That’s a good sign.”

“Mark’s beat up and all that kind of stuff, swelling in the calf, but he’s going to be just fine. Jerricho, surprisingly is much better than, I know I thought and I’m sure than he thought and all of us thought.” Ryan said, “So we’ll see how the week plays out, but I’m not going to say he’s definitely out. I think, you know, that’s certainly a possibility, but he is much better than we thought.”

When Ryan was asked if he was worried about the difference between a slight tear or strain he said, “Strain, tear, I mean no. I think anytime you have a strain I think that is a tear, I believe, but, I like the word slight there, that’s good.”

Matt Slauson had to leave the game and wasn’t able to finish yesterday after re-injuring the same knee he hurt last week, but even his status was a pleasant surprise for the Jets.

Today Ryan said, “Slauson feels better today, than he did this time last week, so that’s encouraging.” If he feels better today than he did last week and he played last week, one would assume he would probably be ready to play this Sunday.

As for Sanchez, any questions or doubts about his health should have been answered by the way he finished out the game after having his leg buckle under him and three Cleveland defenders.

“Yeah it’s a calf, or I should say it’s a leg because where playing here in Cleveland.” Ryan joked, after the game, showing he clearly wasn’t worried about the injury, “But, it’s a calf injury and the kid, he’s tougher than nails. He got out of some sacks, he got out of one from Shaun Rodgers. That might be the biggest man I’ve ever seen in my life, but he got out of his grasp a couple of times and, you know, just tough. Gave our guys a couple of chances and when it was all said and done, we found a way to win again.”

Sanchez shook the injury off, even though he was clearly not at full strength on his first-drive back, and willed his way through the game leading his team to another last minute win. Fans might have been worried that he wouldn’t be able to finish the game, but he wasn’t.

When asked if he thought he might have to come out of the game yesterday Sanchez said, “No, once they checked it out, they wanted to check it out and make sure it wasn’t my knee. Let me move around a little bit and just get it stretched out a little bit and hang in, so I think the guys were glad that I was back so that was good.”

“I just got rolled up or something I don’t know.” Sanchez said. Then he was asked if he thinks it will cause a problem for next week, “I don’t think so.” Sanchez shrugged.

While Ryan won’t rule Cotchery out for this week, it seems likely he might sit this game out and with their next game coming on short-rest for the Thanksgiving night game it’s possible Cotchery could miss the next two games, but that’s pure speculation. If everyone was surprised by how much better he felt today than who knows how he will feel after five days of treatment.

“No, they haven’t ruled me out. Hopefully, these treatments go well for me.” Cotchery said today, “I’ll be living in the treatment room for a while, all of this week, and hopefully, my body responds well to it.”

If Cotchery does miss time, Brad Smith will take his place as the third receiver and will limit their ability to use the, ‘Wildcat,’ packages they have been using so successfully.

Slauson though, seems most likely to play and Sanchez is all but dressed and on the field, ready to improve to 8-2 this Sunday.

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