FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Geno Smith might be able to avoid the short-term injured reserve list.
The New York Jets quarterback had his jaw broken by a punch from then-teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali last Tuesday, and had surgery two days later to have metal plates and screws inserted. Smith is expected to miss six to 10 weeks, leaving his availability uncertain for the regular season.
Short-term IR is one option for the Jets, but Smith wouldn’t be able to play until he was on the list for at least eight weeks.
”Based on the timeline for his recovery, it’s a possibility,” Maccagnan said during practice Tuesday, ”but I would say it would not be likely.”
Maccagnan said Smith is likely to miss the first four games of the regular season, putting a potential return around Week 6 – after the Jets’ bye week.
With Ryan Fitzpatrick the starter and rookies Bryce Petty and Jake Heaps behind him, the Jets are exploring veteran options.
”I don’t want to necessarily put a timeframe on it, but it is something we’re looking to do,” Maccagnan said. ”We have the ability to do that, potentially, for the rest of training camp.”
They brought Matt Flynn in for a physical last week, but didn’t work him out. He was released by New England last week after dealing with a hamstring issue, and New York was still very much interested in signing him. The 30-year-old Flynn has also been with Green Bay (twice), Seattle, Oakland and Buffalo.
It would appear to make sense for the Jets to bring in a veteran as insurance for Fitzpatrick, who was acquired in March from Houston. He’s healthy after having his season end last December because of a broken leg. Still, the Jets would be in a precarious position if Fitzpatrick were to get hurt early in the season because of the lack of experience behind him at the quarterback spot.
Maccagnan acknowledged the Jets have ”talked to other teams” about trades, but the GM also will track the waiver wire and free-agent market.
”There’s nothing pressing on that front right now,” Maccagnan said of a trade. ”I think most teams are kind of evaluating their own quarterback situations. That would probably, I would imagine, become more of a possibility as we get later on in training camp.”
Smith was at the team meeting Tuesday, and coach Todd Bowles said he briefly chatted with the injured quarterback both Monday and Tuesday.
”We didn’t have a two-hour conversation or anything,” Bowles said, ”but he was able to open his mouth and everything.”
With Fitzpatrick taking over as the starter, Bowles said last week there is no guarantee Smith will automatically get the job back when he’s healthy – particularly if Fitzpatrick and the team are playing well. Despite that, Fitzpatrick insisted there’s no tension or weird feelings among the two quarterbacks.
”It’s fine,” Fitzpatrick said. ”We’re both professionals.”
Both Bowles and Maccagnan expect Smith to be able to participate in all meetings at the facility ”very soon,” although physical activity will still be up to the doctors.
”No time soon,” Bowles said. ”He’s got a good, another week and a half, two weeks, maybe.”
Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick has gotten four full practices under his belt with the starting offense, developing a better rapport with the receivers and feeling even more comfortable in Chan Gailey’s offense.
The fact he played under Gailey for three seasons in Buffalo was a major reason the Jets went after Fitzpatrick in the offseason. That has guys such as Brandon Marshall feeling pretty good about Fitzpatrick – whether he’s a short- or long-term solution this season.
”It’s his offense,” Marshall said of Fitzpatrick. ”He knows this offense probably just as well as Chan. That’s exciting and it makes everyone feel comfortable.”
Fitzpatrick and the starters played just one series in the preseason opener last week at Detroit, but they are expected to get a few more series against Atlanta on Friday night.
”There’s a big-time balance between staying healthy and getting work,” Fitzpatrick said. ”I think health certainly outweighs that. Being healthy for the season is certainly more important than going out there and lighting the world on fire in preseason.”
NOTES: DE Muhammad Wilkerson continues to sit out practice with a sore hamstring. Bowles said Wilkerson likely won’t play Friday if he doesn’t practice Wednesday. … WR Chris Owusu returned to the practice field as a spectator while continuing to recover from a concussion. ”He’s doing some light jogging and everything,” Bowles said. ”So, his head is clearing up, but he’s still a ways away.”
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