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Jeremy Kerley honored, injured

Jeremy Kerley #11 of the New York Jets

Jeremy Kerley #11 of the New York Jets runs a punt return into the endzone for a second quarter touchdown against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Sept. 9, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Coach Rex Ryan began his Wednesday press conference by praising wide receiver Jeremy Kerley for earning the AFC Special Teams player of the week award for his 68-yard punt return for a touchdown in the Jets’ 48-28 victory over Buffalo on Sunday. But that was just the opener for a good news, bad news status update on Kerley.

“I’m really proud of Jeremy Kerley,” Ryan said of the weekly award. “That’s quite an honor. Unfortunately for Jeremy, he woke up today, and he’s got a low back [condition]. He’s stiff, and he will not practice today.

“I asked him if it’s because he came down with the ‘Pittsburgh flu.’ I’m not sure. I’ve seen it happen. That is a very physical football team. All kidding aside, hopefully, he will feel better tomorrow. He will be evaluated. He will be listed as limited.”

Of course, the second-year receiver has become an increasingly valuable player to the Jets, not only for the game-breaking return ability he showed against the Bills, but for his value as a third wide receiver who often lines up in the slot position. Kerley also had a 12-yard TD reception from quarterback Mark Sanchez to start the rout before his punt return made it 21-0.

If Kerley’s back doesn’t improve over the course of the week, cornerback Kyle Wilson will replace him as the punt returner. Wilson also is in line to start at cornerback if All-Pro Darrelle Revis can’t go because of his concussion. As for Kerley’s receiving duties, Ryan said Clyde Gates will be active, indicating he could step into that slot, especially because he played for offensive coordinator Tony Sparano last year at Miami.

Ryan said all the players on the injury list will be evaluated before today’s practice, but until that occurs, here is the injury list and practice status:

Will not practice -- Dennis Landolt (knee), Darrell Revis (concussion), Bryan Thomas (hamstring). Limited practice – Eric Smith (hip, knee), Dustin Keller (hamstring), John Conner (knee), Kerley (low back), Sione Po’uha (low back), Stephen Hill (calf). Full practice – LaRon Landry (heel), Brandon Moore (hip), Mike DeVito (calf), Antonio Cromartie (shoulder), Chaz Schilens (ankle), Nick Bellore (shoulder).

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