FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — It’s not about me.
That was the message Muhammad Wilkerson tried to convey Thursday amid questions about his lack of production and lingering ankle injury.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m out there or not,” said the star defensive end, who has only 1 1⁄2 sacks and 21 tackles after signing a five-year, $86-million deal in July. “I didn’t play Sunday and we got a win. Guys did their job. We got the win . . . It’s not just because I am playing or I’m not playing that we win or lose.”
After Wilkerson disclosed to Newsday last week that he’d been playing through pain for “a couple weeks,” he was inactive for the Jets’ 24-16 win over Baltimore. The defense limited the Ravens to 11 rushing yards.
Wilkerson’s current injury is related to his surgically repaired right fibula. He said a tendon near his right ankle has been “bothering me,” but “it’s getting better.” After sitting out Wednesday’s practice, he was limited Thursday and is unsure if he’ll suit up Sunday in Cleveland.
“It’s a long season and it’s not just myself out there,” he said. “It’s not a one-man show. It’s a team sport and we’ve got a lot of games left to improve.”
Asked about center Nick Mangold (ankle), coach Todd Bowles said: “It doesn’t look good right now. He’s not running yet. He’s walking. As the days go by and he’s not running yet, it doesn’t look good. But we’ll hold out another day or so.”
Browns coach Hue Jackson said “all signs point” to quarterback Josh McCown (shoulder/ collarbone) starting. Jackson added, “He had another good practice today and worked hard, so I think we’re really trending that way now.”
Bowles already has ruled out rookie LB Darron Lee (ankle) and RT Brent Qvale (neck) for the second straight week. LB Bruce Carter (quadriceps) also is out . . . TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins is “having trouble coming back from” a high ankle sprain, Bowles said. Other players who sat out: S Antonio Allen (Achilles), LT Ryan Clady (shoulder), RB Matt Forte (knee), CB Buster Skrine (knee) and DE Sheldon Richardson (non-injury-related).