The Jets’ ever-changing offensive line took another hit on Sunday when promising rookie right tackle Max Mitchell went down with what appeared to be a serious right knee injury in a 24-20 victory over the Steelers.
The good news for the Jets is that Mitchell’s injury is not season-ending, coach Robert Saleh said on Monday. The bad news is that it appears he will be out for at least a few weeks, and injured reserve is a possibility.
The NFL Network reported that Mitchell suffered a dislocation.
It is unclear what the Jets’ next step will be, as they already were deep into creative mode as it was.
Against the Steelers, Alijah Vera-Tucker moved from right guard to left tackle and Nate Herbig got his first start at guard.
The move came as a surprise to reporters and fans, but Saleh said Vera-Tucker had been working toward the possibility for several weeks.
The Jets lost tackles Mekhi Becton and Duane Brown to injuries in training camp, then lost tackle George Fant to injured reserve last week.
Conor McDermott replaced Fant at left tackle in Week 3 and was in turn replaced by Vera-Tucker in Week 4. McDermott ended up replacing Mitchell.
“I thought AVT was fantastic,” Saleh said on Monday. “It is not easy to move positions along the offensive line, but I think he did a great job showing his versatility.”
The team has until Wednesday to decide whether to activate Brown off injured reserve and get him back on the practice field this week. But even if he does return to practice, that does not mean he will be ready to play.
“Eventually, that group has to get a run on luck with health,” Saleh said after the game, “and see if they can string together some games having the same group over and over again.”
That will not be the case against the Dolphins this Sunday.
“We’re going to put the best five on the football field,” Saleh said, “whoever that might be.”