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Leonhard placed on injured reserve

Jets safety Jim Leonhard was placed on injured

Jets safety Jim Leonhard was placed on injured reserve on Saturday. Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Jets officially ended Jim Leonhard's season yesterday, placing the safety on injured reserve because of a right tibia fracture suffered in practice Friday.

Leonhard had a rod placed through the tibia to stabilize the bone during surgery Friday night at Morristown (N.J.) Memorial Hospital and the Jets say they expect a full recovery. He's tentatively scheduled to be discharged either sometime Sunday or tomorrow.

The loss of Leonhard, who was injured when he collided with wide receiver Patrick Turner, is a big blow because he not only is the quarterback of the Jets' third-ranked defense but their primary punt returner.

Eric Smith will start in Leonhard's place against the Patriots opposite Brodney Pool, and reserve defensive back James Ihedigbo should see an increased role at safety.

As for the punt-returning duties, Jerricho Cotchery, who's expected to play after missing the last two games with a slight groin tear, most likely will take over those chores. But there's a chance wideout Santonio Holmes or cornerback Antonio Cromartie will get some opportunities.

A sixth-year veteran, Leonhard had started 27 consecutive regular-season games since joining the Jets as an unrestricted free agent in 2009 and is second on the team in combined tackles this season with 61. His 11.3-yard punt-return average ranks fourth in the AFC.


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