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Jets' Coples out indefinitely with ankle injury

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NEW YORK (AP)

Rex Ryan and the New York Jets will be without one of their key defensive players for a while.

Linebacker Quinton Coples, the team's sacks leader last season as a rookie, is out indefinitely with an ankle injury that will require surgery.

The Jets announced Sunday night that Coples, injured in the team's 37-13 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday night, will have a ''medical procedure'' on his right ankle Tuesday and miss the remainder of the preseason.

The team did not announce the nature of the injury, but it is believed to be a hairline fracture. That could keep him out for at least the regular-season opener at home against Tampa Bay on Sept. 8.

Coples was hurt late in the second quarter when he batted down a pass by Chad Henne and landed awkwardly. Ryan actually challenged the call, thinking it might have been a forced fumble and recovery by Coples, but officials upheld their initial decision that it was an incomplete pass.

Coples limped off the field after the play and was immediately examined by team trainers on the sideline. After a few minutes, Coples walked along the sideline before being taken to the locker room - without a sock or cleat on - for further tests.

The loss of Coples, even for just a few weeks, is a major blow for Ryan's defense which is counting on a big season from their first-round pick last year. Coples, out of North Carolina, had a team-high 5 1/2 sacks a year ago while lining up primarily at defensive end.

Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman were planning on having Coples play outside linebacker and occasionally slide into his old defensive line spot - a transition that Coples was still working on this preseason. His speed and size - 6-foot-6 and 290 pounds - make him a valuable and versatile piece of a defensive unit expected to be much faster than previous years.

Antwan Barnes, signed in the offseason from San Diego, and Ricky Sapp will likely fill in for Coples.

NOTES: The Jets resume training camp practices Monday at their facility in Florham Park, N.J., after spending the first three weeks at SUNY Cortland. ... The team surprised former DT Marty Lyons by announcing during the game Saturday that he would be the newest inductee to the Jets' Ring of Honor. Lyons, who works as an analyst on the team's radio broadcasts, will be honored at halftime of the Jets' game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 13. Lyons was a first-round pick in 1979 and played his entire career with the Jets before retiring after the 1989 season.

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Online: AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org

Tagged: Jets, Quinton Coples

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