Dee Milliner Helped Off The Field By Trainers, McDougle Tears ACL
CORTLAND, N.Y.- The Jets’ secondary was already a question mark heading into the season and now that question mark has gotten a lot bigger.
Cornerback Dee Milliner who has had a great training camp and looked good during the preseason game against the Colts, went down with an apparent serious injury to his left ankle during today’s practice.
Early reports indicate that Milliner suffered a high ankle sprain rather than a fracture although it is still unclear how much time he will miss.
Head coach Rex Ryan said Milliner injured his ankle while defending rookie wide receiver Quincy Enunwa.
“He goes and tries to defend the (ball), going against Quincy, tries to make a play on the football and [he] came down and rolled his ankle.”
Ryan was clearly concerned about the injury to Milliner.
“Well again, you’re concerned with everybody’s injuries. That’s part of the business; You go through it and [the] next man has to step up or we’ll see. Obviously you’re always concerned with guys injuries there’s no question about it.”
Earlier in the day, cornerback Dexter McDougle injured his left knee and had to leave practice. After practice the Jets announced that McDougle tore his ACL in his left knee and will miss the season.
According to Ryan, McDougle hurt his knee during one-on-one drills in the red zone.
“We were doing one-on-ones in the red zone and apparently he came down and his cleat got caught.” Ryan added that McDougle felt a “sharp pain” in his knee.
The loss of McDougle is a tough one for the Jets. The 3rd round pick out of Maryland had a strong start to camp and was looking like a draft day steal. During the first preseason game against the Colts, McDougle broke up a pass and played with the second unit. However, with the inconsistent play of Dimitri Patterson, McDougle began to take reps with the first unit Sunday.
While Ryan was clearly concerned about the injuries to both Milliner and McDougle he was confident that the team had enough secondary depth to overcome any serious injury.
“We’ll put the best 11 out there and we’ll be able to play defense. We have a lot of good football players… we’ll be fine.”
When asked what he thought of cornerbacks Darrin Walls and Ellis Lankster, two potential replacements for Milliner and McDougle, Ryan had nothing but positive things to say about them specifically Lankster.
“Ellis is a guy who has really worked hard… and to me he is playing really well, this is probably the best I’ve seen Ellis play.”
Ryan also complemented Walls but stressed that he still needs to improve,
“I wish Darrin could catch the ball a little better, he seems to lead the league in PBUs (Pass Break Ups) so that was something he was working on even after practice with Eric Smith…to be a great one, you’ve got to able to make those plays and I know he wants to be as good as he can be and he’s working hard at that. “
Cornerback Dimitri Patterson also missed practice today with injuries to his quad and ankle. Ryan was noncommittal on a timetable for Patterson’s return only saying that he is “hoping to get him out there pretty soon.”
Ryan also downplayed the possibility of adding a cornerback via free agency saying, “I think we have enough depth here.”
The injuries to Milliner, Patterson and McDougle leave the Jets without three of their top four cornerbacks. With the loss of McDougle to an ACL tear and Patterson’s injury history, the potential of a serious injury to Milliner would be a huge blow to an already depleted Jets secondary.