FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Turns out, there's a benefit to having an injured thumb.
"Well, it's painful enough to get me out of changing diapers,'' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick joked Wednesday. "That's been the one positive.''
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Despite tearing several ligaments in his left thumb last Sunday against the Raiders, the father of five's sense of humor remains intact. And so does his status as the Jets' starter.
Barring a setback, coach Todd Bowles said Fitzpatrick will start Sunday's home game against the Jaguars (2-5). That's a surprising development given Bowles' concern over Fitzpatrick's injury earlier in the week.
The decision not to trade for a quarterback before Tuesday's deadline or sign a veteran on Wednesday indicated the Jets felt comfortable with their quarterback situation. But Bowles said he wasn't ready to declare Fitzpatrick the starter until he saw him practice.
"He did everything he normally would do,'' Bowles said. "He's a tough guy. He can tolerate some things.''
Wearing a black glove on his left hand, Fitzpatrick took snaps under center and threw short passes during the 20-minute portion of practice open to the media. Fitzpatrick, who plans to wear a glove Sunday as well, said that former teammate Carson Palmer, who had a similar injury in 2009, texted him on Sunday and offered encouragement.
"No limitations today,'' said the 32-year-old, who was injured early in the first quarter when he was tackled by Raiders safety Charles Woodson on a 12-yard scramble. "Really just a trial run to see how it was going to feel and what is the best way going forward in terms of using it and not using it and all that. Today was a pretty positive day.''
His replacement, Geno Smith, injured his left shoulder and abdomen in the 34-20 loss to Oakland. Smith also showed no signs of discomfort during Wednesday's practice, but the Jets (4-3) wasted no time declaring Fitzpatrick their starter.
And he didn't appear to have any doubts about his future. Asked if he thinks he'll be able to play the rest of the season with the injury, Fitzpatrick said: "I'm extremely confident. I want to go out there and help the team, and I think I'm going to be able to do that.''
He also said he'll need surgery "eventually;'' he just needs to "figure out when.''
After Sunday's game, it appeared that Smith might get a second chance to be the Jets' starter. But he said yesterday that he "kind of knew, just monitoring Fitz'' that there wouldn't be a quarterback change. Asked if he was disappointed, Smith said: "Yes and no. I understand what's going on, but at the same time, you still want to play.''
The Jets' receivers aren't complaining.
"There is relief there because he's led us this whole year,'' Brandon Marshall said of Fitzpatrick. "But I'm proud of Geno, too, for stepping in there and doing a great job. We're lucky to have depth.''
Said Eric Decker: "It's hard when you've got to make a change at that position just because there's so much that goes into it, and, really, the chemistry between skill players and a quarterback takes time.''