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Mangold has high ankle sprain, likely out vs. Raiders

New York Jets center Nick Mangold is helped

New York Jets center Nick Mangold is helped off the field by trainers after an injury during the first quarter. (Sept. 18, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

Nick Mangold hasn't missed a start in his last 82 regular season games.

Look like that's about to change, though.

The Pro Bowl center had an MRI this morning that revealed he has a high ankle sprain, which could shelve him for a couple of weeks. Rex Ryan didn't sound overly confident Mangold will play in Sunday's matchup with the Raiders at O.co Coliseum, though he was reluctant to completely rule him out.  

"I would say his status for the game would be within question," Ryan said this afternoon here at the team's Florham Park, N.J. training facility. "I would assume very iffy. I don’t think it looks very good as far as playing this week. But with that being said, he thinks he can go and he’s started 80-something games in a row. We’ll see how it progresses. I wouldn’t count him out.

"He’s a tough guy, but the trainers will always do what’s in the best interest of the player. We’ll never put a guy out there that shouldn't be out there. With that said, I think it’s iffy whether he plays or not, with all due respect to Nick."

Ryan said there are no plans to look outside the organization for help, so the job belongs to undrafted free agent Colin Baxter. If Baxter gets injured, Ryan said left guard Matt Slauson would likely slide over to center and rookie Caleb Schlauderaff would play in Slauson's spot.

The Jets picked up Baxter off waivers from San Diego on Sept. 4 and he was thrust into action in yesterday's 32-3 thumping of Jacksonville, making one critical mistake by snapping the ball early.

Asked to assess Baxter's performance, veteran right guard Brandon Moore hedged a bit before offering up: "He stepped in and did the best he could with the position he was in."

It's a position Baxter never thought he'd be in so soon.

"It’s crazy, man," Baxter said. "It just goes to show that you keep working at it, you'll get your shot. Some sooner, some later. Mine just so happens to be sooner."

Could be for a while, too. Typically, it takes a player more than a week to recuperate from a high ankle sprain, so there's no guarantee Mangold will be back in time for next Sunday night's tilt in Baltimore, nor the Jets' Oct. 9 grudge match with the Patriots in Foxborough, Mass.    

"I guess you are always concerned when you have an ankle," Ryan said. "But I guess if you ask Nick the questions, he thinks he can go. I mean, we’ll see. But things affect guys differently. I'm sure if he was a running back, I’m sure that would hold true. The fact that he’s got to run in a small area, we’ll see."

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