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Mangold wants to play Sunday, prepping as if he will

Nick Mangold isn't ready to sit this one out just yet.

The All-Pro center, who's nursing a high right ankle sprain suffered in Sunday's win over the Jaguars, said he's feeling better today and remains hopeful he'll be able to play when the Jets meet the Raiders at Coliseum in four days.  

"That's what I'm working towards," Mangold said this afternoon, standing in front of his locker. "Whether or not that happens, I don't know. But that would be my goal."

Mangold has shed the crutches but was still sporting a walking boot. He's able to put some weight on the ankle finally, but he's experiencing some pain. 

"It feels better," he said, later adding he wouldn't be able to play if the game was today. "It's a little tender, walking around without the crutches. But it's getting better and that's all I ask for."

Mangold said he hasn't talked timeline with the trainers. It's more of a day-to-day thing and he'll continue to get treatment, doing as much as he can to be on the field with his teammates in Oakland. At the same time, though, he knows he has to be smart so the injury doesn't hamper him all season. 

"You don't want anything lingering and I think that's the fear of the injury and trying to rush back before it's ready," Mangold said. "I'm going to make sure it's ready, but I'm going to make sure it's ready as soon as possible."

He added: "I'm preparing to play Sunday. If the ankle doesn't let me, then I've prepared well and just won't let me do it. That's my mindset everyday, every week, that I'm going to be out there."

Mangold has played in 82 consecutive regular-season games, a number that he's well aware of.

"I'm no Favrey," he cracked, referring to Brett Favre, "but 82 is a special thing and I'm proud of that. But I'm not going to put myself or put the team in detriment over a number. That's no concern to me."

In the meantime, Mangold is trying to help undrafted rookie free agent Colin Baxter get ready for his first potential NFL start. So what's he been telling him? 

"He's got to cut his hair. It's too long," Mangold cracked. "Nah, he's only been here 2, 2½ weeks, so just trying to fill him in with a year's worth of the system into just a couple of days. Trying to get him on board and on the same page, just in case we need to use him. I want the guys around him, if he needs to be called up, to be comfortable with what he's doing.

"So, my goal is to get him ready." 


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