Florham Park, N.J.– Injuries are a part of the business that is the NFL and all teams have to deal with them, but it’s hard to imagine a team being dealt more crushing injuries to it’s most important players than the Jets. With the Jets having plenty of holes, even when healthy, and lacking the necessary depth to make up for many of the injuries the odds were very heavily stacked them these past few weeks. The good news looking forward is Dustin Keller and Stephen Hill are expected to return to the lineup this Sunday, the bad news is other injuries keep on piling up.

Kenrick Ellis tweaked his knee in the game against the Texans and will miss four-six weeks with an MCL sprain, Josh Mauga has been placed on IR with a torn pectoral muscle and Eric Smith hurt his knee in yesterday’s practice.

“Kenrick Ellis his MCL, it looks like he could be out a significant amount of time, maybe four-six weeks, we’re hoping with him it won’t be more than four but we’ll see.” Ryan said, “Yesterday Eric Smith goes up to knock a ball down (and) comes down on his leg. Luckily I think it’s just a sprained knee, but I think Eric is probably going to miss this week with it. I’ll be honest I thought it was going to be much worse than that.”

Dustin Keller has been out since midway through the Bills games and the offense has nosedived since he went out. This week the Jets expect to have both Keller and Stephen Hill back to help the offense, but the injuries are still piling in as Kenrick Ellis and Eric Smith have been added to the injury list. (Jetsinsider.com Photo)

Ryan said, Nick Mangold (ankle), John Conner (hamstring), Clyde Gates (shoulder), Sione Po’uha (lower back) and obviously Smith and Ellis will not practice with the team today.

“Well I think Mangold, I think Nick will probably be able to go. You know, Sione with the low back, we’ll see. I know he wants to go, but that’s probably a questionable guy.” Ryan said, “Conner, I don’t see him going this week with the hamstring and then Gates with a shoulder, not totally sure on that one either. I don’t want to rule him (Gates) out by any stretch because he still has that speed and all that, but some guys respond differently off of injuries. It’s a shoulder, but could he play? We’ll see, I think he could but (we’ll see).”

Bart Scott (toe), Bryan Thomas (hamstring), Stephen Hill (hamstring), Dustin Keller (hamstring), David Harris (hamstring) and Jeremy Kerley (illness) are listed as limited for today’s practice. Ryan did say that Kerley and Harris could possibly be full participants in practice today, but as of this morning he was playing it safe and listing them as limited.

Yesterday Ryan said he felt more confident that Keller would be able to play this week than Hill would saying, “Well, I would say Dustin now, because I think his injury has had more time to heal. I’m hopeful that both of them will be out there. When you look at them, they’re limited in practice. I think that’s obviously, much better than being out.”

But today Ryan said he does in fact expect Hill to play this week and yesterday Keller also said he thinks he’ll be able to play. “Yeah I do. It’s been way too long. I’ve had way too many setbacks.” Keller said, “I was super smart today. I got some good reps today and came out healthy. I think I’ll be good to go, I’m pretty positive.

With the Jets missing their most explosive playmaker in Holmes the return of Hill and Keller becomes that much more crucial. Whether Keller or Hill fill out the stat sheet, they will command the attention of the defense as long as they are out there which will help open things up for the rest of their teammates. Kerley has been great throughout the season, but Sanchez needs more help than just Kerley. Getting the one target that’s been here for Sanchez’s entire career back on the field along with the Jets most dangerous deep threat should provide Sanchez with a certain comfort level and open up the field for Sanchez to make plays.

Injuries will continue to play a part in determining the success of the Jets season, but this week at least the offense can get two of it’s most important weapons back and field an offensive unit that can maybe, just maybe, help this team find some wins.

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