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Rookie Hill will play; Smith out with knee sprain

New York Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill (84)

New York Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill (84) catches a pass for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Sept. 9, 2012) Credit: AP

Eric Smith won’t play Sunday against the Colts after suffering another knee injury, Rex Ryan said Thursday.

According to the Jets coach, the veteran safety – who was sidelined for several weeks with a hip and knee injury following their preseason loss to the Bengals on Aug. 10 -- suffered his latest injury in Wednesday’s practice.

“Smith goes up to knock a ball down, comes down on his leg,” the coach explained. “…I’ll be honest, I thought it was going to be much, much worse than that. It’s actually good news. It’s bad news he won’t go this week but it was just a sprained knee. But that was one of those things like, ‘Ok, I think we’ve had enough of these (injuries).’ But fortunately it doesn’t look like it’s going to be too long.”

As expected, Ryan said John Conner (hamstring) won’t play either. The fullback, who hasn’t practiced this week, has been walking with a pretty noticeable limp around the rehab area.

It appears, however, that the Jets will have Stephen Hill along with tight end Dustin Keller for this week’s game. Hill, their No. 2 draft pick, has been sidelined for two weeks with a hamstring injury. The pair began Thursday’s practice in the rehab area, along with Conner, Nick Mangold (ankle) and Kenrick Ellis (knee).

Ryan finally confirmed Ellis does in fact have an MCL sprain and could be out 4-6 weeks. Naturally, the coach hopes his back up nose tackle will miss just a month of the season.

Ryan said he’s still unsure if starting nose tackle Sione Po’uha (back) will miss his second straight game. The coach also doesn’t know if receiver Clyde Gates (shoulder) will be a go either. Ryan said both are not expected to practice Thursday, along with Ellis, Conner, Mangold and Smith.

Linebackers Bart Scott (toe) and Bryan Thomas (hamstring) are expected to be limited, along with Keller and Stephen Hill. Ryan said linebacker David Harris (hamstring) and slot receiver Jeremy Kerley (finger/illness) may be limited, as well – although they could also be full participants, he added.

We’ll just have to wait for this afternoon’s injury report to know for sure. 


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