The words “high ankle sprain” generally are a sentence to three or four weeks in the trainer’s room, but Jets running back Joe McKnight played with it last week at New England and plans to do the same against Miami Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
McKnight did not practice on Wednesday, admitting, “I’ve got to let my ankle calm down before I can do anything else. It’s still sore and swollen.” But McKnight was quick to add, “But I’m still going to play this week…We’ve got a bye week coming up, and I’ll rest on the bye week.”
Some might say the wise thing for McKnight to do after he was injured two games earlier against the Colts would have been to skip the New England and Miami games before the bye to essentially get a month off to heal completely. But on Sunday in Foxborough, McKnight talked his way into the lineup.
“I kind of did,” he admitted. “I kind of forced it that whole week, telling them I was going to play.” Referring to special teams coach Mike Westhoff, McKnight said, “I was in pain, but if Westhoff can beat his leg cancer, I can play through a little ankle sprain.”
Westhoff recently said McKnight has become a favorite of his because of his sunny disposition and how hard he plays. There was a time during McKnight’s rookie season when his toughness was questioned, but that’s certainly no longer the case.
Against the Pats, McKnight carried seven times for 23 yards, including one 13-yard burst, and he averaged 29 yards on four kickoff returns, including a 41-yarder. Asked if he felt he answered his critics, McKnight said, “I hope so. I just want to go out there and give it up for my teammates and win. That was the main focus. It was a big game for first place. I wanted to show the team I could help.”
Next up for the Jets is another AFC East opponent in a game they must win to reach the bye week at 4-4 and assured of at least second place. They would be in a world of hurt as a team if they get to the bye at 3-5 and have to dig themselves out of that hole in the second half.
So, McKnight is saddling up. “I played last week, I mean, I can play this week,” he said. “I’m good. I’m playing.”