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Jets' Bilal Powell out for the season with neck injury, career in danger

Jets running back Bilal Powell in the first

Jets running back Bilal Powell in the first half against the Vikings at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 21, 2018. Credit: Lee S. Weissman/Lee S. Weissman

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Bilal Powell’s season is over, and perhaps his career.

Todd Bowles said Powell’s neck injury suffered in Sunday’s loss to the Vikings will require surgery, and it could end the running back’s career.

Bowles said it’s a disc issue similar to what receiver Quincy Enunwa suffered in training camp last year. Enunwa underwent surgery to repair a bulging disc in his neck and missed all of last season. Powell’s injury “may be worse,” Bowles said. How the surgery goes will determine whether Powell can resume playing.

“Anytime you lose a starter - Bilal’s one of the hardest workers on this team - it’s a big blow from that standpoint,” Bowles said Wednesday. “But you worry more about the person healing than you do the football player. So that’s where we’re at.”

The Jets placed Powell on injured reserve Wednesday. Even if Powell is able to play again, his Jets career might be over. The longest-tenured Jet, Powell will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and may not have been re-signed.

A fourth-round pick in 2011, Powell ranks 20th on the Jets’ all-time rushing list with 3,446 yards. He rushed for 343 yards on 80 carries, and caught 11 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown this season.

“That’s a sad thing to see that, just because BP’s so respected in this locker room,” quarterback Sam Darnold said. “He’s such a great guy to have on the team. As a player he’s amazing as well. It just [stinks] in general to see that happen to anyone. But especially BP it hurts a little bit.”

The Jets could look to acquire a running back before Tuesday’s trade deadline. But it doesn’t make much sense to give up a draft pick for a rental. The Jets have been filling holes on their injury-ravaged roster by signing free agents.

As of now, the Jets have Isaiah Crowell, who has been playing with a sore foot/ankle but was a full participant in practice Wednesday, and rookie Trenton Cannon for Sunday’s game at Chicago.

The Jets could promote De’Angelo Henderson from the practice squad for insurance. Elijah McGuire is on injured reserve, but he’s practicing with the team and eligible to return Nov. 4.

“Right now we’re OK,” Bowles said. “We could look to work somebody out and bring him in or bring in somebody from the practice squad. We’ll look at both.”

Injuries have been piling up for the Jets.

They put Doug Middleton on IR Tuesday with a torn pectoral muscle he suffered Sunday. The Jets used Powell’s roster spot to address their banged-up secondary and signed former Browns, Texans and Cowboys safety Ibraheim Campbell.

Safety Marcus Maye missed last week’s game with a broken thumb, and was limited at practice Wednesday. Bowles said Maye did some running but still hasn’t done any hitting.  At cornerback, Trumaine Johnson missed the last three games with a quad injury and Buster Skrine, who didn’t play Sunday, remains in concussion protocol.

On offense, Enunwa is out with a high ankle sprain. The Jets signed wide receiver Rishard Matthews Tuesday. They waived Terrelle Pryor during the weekend because of a groin injury that could sideline him a few weeks, and used his roster spot to promote Deontay Burnett from the practice squad.

Center Spencer Long left Sunday’s game and didn’t practice Monday because of  knee and finger issues.

“Everybody loses starters,” Bowles said. “We’re losing quite a bit lately. But we’ve got guys that can play and we’re going to get them up to speed so they can play.”

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