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Elijah Moore, Tevin Coleman latest injury concerns for Jets

Elijah Moore #8 of the New York Jets

Elijah Moore #8 of the New York Jets celebrates his touchdown reception in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Credit: Jim McIsaac

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The Jets already were running low on playmakers. They could be even lower on Sunday.

One day after the Jets placed receiver Corey Davis on season-ending injured reserve, Robert Saleh revealed some other skill players are banged up and their status against the Saints is up in the air.

Rookie Elijah Moore, the Jets’ leader in catches, receiving yards and total touchdowns, didn’t practice Wednesday because of a quad injury. Running back Tevin Coleman is in the concussion protocol. Saleh said they’re both day-to-day.

Coleman started the last two games in place of rookie Michael Carter, who is on injured reserve with a high-ankle sprain. Coleman had his best two games as a Jet, leading them in rushing both times.

Moore suffered a quad injury during the summer and missed all three of the Jets’ preseason games. Saleh said it wasn’t related to that, and he didn’t learn that Moore hurt his quad until Tuesday.

"We’ll know more as the week goes on," Saleh said. "I’m still hopeful that he’ll be able to make it Sunday."

After a slow start to his first NFL season, Moore has really come on of late. He and Zach Wilson were clicking last week against the Eagles. Moore had six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown in the loss. Over his last five games, Moore has totaled 423 scrimmage yards and scored five touchdowns.

Moore is the most versatile receiver on the Jets, able to line up everywhere, including the backfield. Moore stepped up when Davis missed time with hip and groin issues and was expected to again with Davis out following core-muscle surgery on Tuesday.

But it’s been that kind of year for the Jets’ receivers. Braxton Berrios has been the only one healthy and active for all 12 games this season.

Jamison Crowder missed three games due to injury. Denzel Mims sat out three games with COVID-19. Keelan Cole, who missed last week because of COVID-19, will be back this week. Jeff Smith was sidelined for two after suffering a concussion in a car accident.

"It’s something that we talk about at the beginning of the year before everything really gets going that it’s going to be a next-man up mentality,’ Berrios said. "That’s across the board in football. Injuries happen. Things happen. COVID happens. You can never prepare for those things, but when they do arise we’re ready.

"We hate it for those guys. We want everybody to be healthy. We want everybody to get through the season injury free, COVID-free. That’s just not the reality of this game. Our prayers out to every single one of them, obviously. And we got to make plays."

Getting Cole back could make a difference. The veteran has made some big catches this season. Crowder is steady and reliable. Berrios is in the same mold. But with Davis out, it should give Mims an opportunity to salvage what has been a disappointing season.

The second-year receiver has appeared in only seven games. He’s been targeted just 15 times, with eight catches for 133 yards.

If Coleman isn’t cleared to play, Ty Johnson likely would start in the backfield. The Jets signed Austin Walter from the practice squad to the active roster this week as insurance. Walter had already been elevated twice and couldn’t be called up again with the Jets signing him.

This also could give second-year running back La’Mical Perine a shot. He showed promise as a rookie, but Perine has only played seven offensive snaps this season. He has one carry for 3 yards.

All of this could make Wilson’s job more difficult Sunday. Saleh thought the rookie played his best game last week with regard to processing his reads, getting in rhythm and getting the ball out quickly. Wilson didn’t try to do too much. He has to follow the same script no matter which playmakers are missing.

"His game was a really good step forward," Saleh said. "Now he’s got to go stack it up and do it again."

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