FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rex Ryan confirmed Monday what his team -- and its fan base -- feared most.
Darrelle Revis is likely done for the season.
An MRI Monday confirmed that the Jets' star cornerback tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Sunday's overtime win at Miami when he tried to make a cut while in pursuit of Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas. As Revis was writhing in pain on his back in the third quarter, several Jets said a prayer and held out hope that the injury news wouldn't be devastating. But it was.
"I saw him this morning and he said it was pretty much over," linebacker Calvin Pace said. "It was a sad moment."
A day after the Jets improved to 2-1, and 2-0 in the AFC East, with an ugly, 23-20 win, they were left to face the harsh reality of life without Revis.
Ryan stopped short of ruling Revis out for the season. But Revis will have to wait two or three weeks before surgery to allow swelling in the knee to go down, Ryan said, and the recovery from an ACL tear is usually six to nine months. So the chances of Revis returning this season appear extremely slim.
They lost more than just a cornerback. They lost a leader and a voice of reason in the locker room. And more importantly, their best player.
The Jets have been spoiled over the years by "Revis Island," and now they'll be forced to figure out how to compete without his shutdown abilities.
"You kind of don't think about what's going on with the guy that Darrelle's covering because you just expect that he's going to have him blanketed," linebacker Aaron Maybin said. "And that does mean the margin for error is just a little bit smaller because there are some quarterbacks that would never look his way that obviously will peek over there to see if their guy is open. But it's up to those guys to make sure those windows are closed."
Ryan is under no illusions that nickel cornerback Kyle Wilson can fill Revis' shoes alone. The only way to replace the three-time All-Pro is with a collective effort.
"As a team, we've got to step it up. And I think we'll respond," Ryan said. He added during his weekly ESPN radio spot that "there definitely will be changes" to what the Jets do on defense.
"We certainly have to accept the challenge and we're going to come out and compete. We might do it a little differently, but we're certainly going to give it our best shot. We will find a way to get this done."
The near-empty locker room Monday afternoon was indicative of what the Jets are now without: a star who speaks not only for himself but for everyone. Revis has set the tone each week, detailing the expectations for any given Sunday.
"He's a leader all the way," said Bryan Thomas, one of only five players to speak during Monday's locker-room access. "That's just the type of person he is. And he's going to be well missed. He's a good friend of mine as well, but a fantastic player."
Pace exhaled deeply and said: "It's terrible, man. It's terrible for him. But that's football."
Revis, 27, did not play in the Week 2 loss against Pittsburgh -- only his fourth missed game in six seasons -- because of a concussion. On Thursday, he was cleared for practice contact and to play against the Dolphins.
It might be weeks before Revis has surgery, and in the meantime, the Jets will be scouring the market for defensive backs, Ryan said.
The Jets coach sensed the cornerback's injury was severe, but he didn't want to speculate before Revis had an MRI Monday. "I could tell," Ryan said.
Thomas, who missed 12 games last season after Achilles and shoulder surgery, said he knows Revis' road to recovery will be emotional.
"I'm going to tell you when it's really going to hit him," the outside linebacker said. "Once he's out of surgery and he's on the couch, watching TV. Watching the team he's played with for six years. The first couple of games are going to be tough. But he can't be bitter. You've got to come to terms with that."