Shaun Ellis has waited through an entire decade without much success as a Jet. So a little thing like a broken left hand won't keep the defensive end from his first AFC Championship Game.
Ellis broke his hand Sunday on the first play against the Chargers. He came out only briefly to have the hand "clubbed up," as he put it - wrapped in a cast and black medical tape so heavily that he looked like a jai-alai player. That's exactly what he'll do again for Sunday's game against the Colts in Indianapolis.
"It's one of those things where I will have to have surgery on it, have some screws put in," Ellis said Monday. "They would've did it [this] week, but the skin wouldn't have healed up in time for me to play. So you just suck it up, cast it up again and go play."
Ellis wasn't as effective as he could have been - he had Philip Rivers in his grasp for a potential fourth-quarter sack, but the cast didn't allow him to get a grip on the quarterback. His injury, however, doesn't change too much in the defensive line rotation.
Mike DeVito usually comes in for Ellis on first and second downs as the game progresses. He came into the game on those downs a bit earlier than usual Sunday and might do so again against the Colts.
DeVito had a fourth-quarter sack of Rivers. "I just had to fill that role quicker than usual," he said. "I'm not sure what Shaun's status is, but I'll be ready to do whatever they want me to do."
It could have been a much bigger role against the Colts, but Ellis will wait until Monday to have surgery, win or lose. If the Jets win, he'll have enough time to heal before the Super Bowl two weeks later.
Ellis is one of five Jets who were on the 2004 team that came within a field goal of reaching the AFC title game. He doesn't want to miss this opportunity, even if he has to play one-handed.
"You play this game for two reasons: You play for a ring, and you play for money," Ellis said. "Once you get the money, then you want to get the ring. A lot of people get the money, but not too many get the ring. And that's one of the things that [Rex Ryan] talks about. He said, 'How many people in here have a ring?' And only like two people stood up. And him, of course.
"That's the reality of it. I've been to the playoffs a couple times, came close in that Pittsburgh game to get to this point now, and I haven't been back since. For us to come out and just start talking about it, it makes everybody believe in it."