Rock covers the New York Giants. Previously covered college sports and outdoors.
It was a casual, breezy, conversational question to open
the conference call with, but it got to the heart of the matter even though it
probably wasn't meant to.
the start of his first public comments since undergoing surgery on his right
knee to repair a season-ending injury last week.
The answer was as pithy as the question, but perhaps one of his most
forthcoming of the entire session: "I'm doin' good."
Vilma would not describe the type of surgery or provide any hint to a
timetable for his return to a football field. The next time he puts an NFL
helmet on his head, it's unlikely to have a Jets logo on the side. That he had
Dr. John Uribe, the team physician for the University of Miami, and not the
Jets doctors perform the surgery indicates that there is some growing distance
between the player and the franchise.
But while he's still a Jet, Vilma is insistent on following the team's
rules, and that means no injury talk.
"The surgery did go well, I can tell you that," Vilma said. "I'll be down
here [in Miami] rehabbing for a little while and I'll definitely try to make it
far as the surgery, it was a success. The best thing right now is that I have
time on my side, since I'm not playing right now, to get back for the 2008
Vilma had been diagnosed with osteochondritis dissecans before the Jets
selected him in the first round of the 2004 draft. In OCD, blood supply to the
bone underlying the articular cartilage is interrupted, creating an area of
According to a person familiar with Vilma's medical situation, Vilma had an
OCD fragment that collapsed and broke loose. Because Vilma said doctors told
him that his surgery was "one and done" and would require no further procedures
during or after his career, it is believed Vilma underwent an osteochondral
allograft. No ligaments are involved in either case. A separate person familiar
with the situation confirmed that Vilma did not undergo microsurgery, a
procedure that would require about a year of rehab. Recovery time from the
allograft is generally between three and six months.
Vilma did address speculation that he will not return to play for the Jets.
While he has, in the past, sidestepped the matter, in recent interviews he has
at least acknowledged the possibility.
"I have no control over that," he said. "It's a business and if I do go to
another team I wish the Jets the best of luck and hopefully I'll be successful.
If I stay, I'm staying for the same purpose that I've been here for, and
that's to win a championship."
Asked specifically about reports that have quoted sources as saying Vilma
is unhappy with the Jets and their 3-4 defense and he is looking to get out,
Vilma called them "fictional."
A quick look at the top stories this week
Who'll be applauding Curtis?
Running back Curtis Martin, who hasn't played since late in 2005 and
announced his retirement just prior to this season, will be honored during a
halftime ceremony at Sunday's game against the Steelers. Martin is the Jets'
all-time leading rusher and the fourth all-time leading rusher in the NFL with
14,101 yards on 3,518 carries. He is also a native of Pittsburgh and played his
college ball at Pitt, so the Steelers fans who are buying all of the tickets
from discouraged Jets season ticket holders for the game will have a chance to
applaud a native son.
Been there, done that
The Jets came back from their bye week somewhat refreshed and refocused,
but the clouds of a 1-8 record and a six-game losing streak quickly returned to
blot out their sunshine. "It's monotonous," veteran linebacker David Bowens
said of the losing. "We have to say the same thing every week on why we lost
the game. It seems like every game, the reasons have been the same for why we
lost. It would be good for once - or seven times - to come in and say we
outplayed these guys and made the plays that they didn't."
Even coin toss is loss
Safety Kerry Rhodes didn't only attend the high school football game of his
younger brother Justin, a heavily recruited offensive and defensive lineman,
in Alabama this weekend. He was asked to be at midfield for the opening coin
toss. Still, he was unable to escape the bad luck which has plagued his and the
Jets' season so far. His alma mater and his brother's team, Jess Lanier, won
the game, but Rhodes was unable to win the coin toss. "I heard my brother say,
'Damn, Kerry, you messed up the coin toss, too,' " Rhodes said with a big grin.
"Nothing's going right for me this year."
The Jets didn't play last week, but their run defense managed to get worse.
Well, not really, but because the three teams that were ranked below them last
week each had a strong effort while the Jets were off, the Jets' run defense
slipped from 29th to a league-worst 32nd. This is the first time since 2003
that the Jets have been last in the league in run defense. A look at the teams
currently the worst against the run:
Team Yards per game Last week's ranking Week 10 rushing yards allowed
29. Raiders 144.2 30 78 vs. Bears
30. Dolphins 149.7 31 63 vs. Bills
31. Broncos 151.0 32 67 vs. Chiefs
32. Jets 152.2 29 Bye