**Turns out, Rex Ryan's angst may have been for nought.
Hours after the Jets coach painted an uncertain picture of Po'uha's status for Sunday. The nose tackle said he is "a little bit ahead of schedule actually" and feels "great." More importantly, Po'uha -- who practiced almost fully -- said he'll play Sunday.
Rex Ryan exhaled deeply, unsure of how to respond to a question he had no answer for.
"That could be very well be," the coach said, when asked if nose tackle Sione Po'uha had suffered a setback. "I just don't want to give you a definite 'absolutely' when that has never been said to me."
Po'uha had assured reporters in Cortland that he would be ready for the season-opener. But now, it's unclear if he'll be able to play Sunday against the Bills.
"Backs, they're tricky, because if you go out there too early and you have a setback, whether that can really set you back," Ryan explained. "But he's been getting better. His weight's down, he's been able to do some things. But he really hasn't practice football, so I don't want to say he's ready to go, playing that position...I don't know if you can just run out there without competing on the practice field with each other."
Though Ryan didn't expect Po'uha to practice Monday, the nose tackle was spotted doing individual drills. That's an encouraging sign, but the real test comes later this week. If he's unable to play, backup Kenrick Ellis will be asked to shoulder the load.
"Kenrick has been outstanding," Ryan said. "Let's make sure Sione's back. If he's not ready to go, at or near 100 percent, then we don't need to put him out there right now. So let's make sure we get Sione back healthy. But Kenrick clearly is really playing well for us."
The Jets also have waiver-claim acquisition Isaako Aaitui -- but Ryan said they'll use him more at both tackle spots in a 4-3, rather than the nose tackle in 3-4.
"I feel good where we're at, tackle-wise, obviously with Sione, Kenrick and "Big Snacks," he said with a smile, referring to undrafted free agent Damon Harrison.
Barring a setback, Ryan anticipates TE Dustin Keller (hamstring) will be able to suit up on Sunday. Keller was in the rehab area during practice, along with LB David Harris (ankle), LB Bryan Thomas and S Eric Smith (knee/hip). RB Joe McKnight (hamstring) also was in the rehab group at one point, but he moved to the field and watched drills during the 20-minute portion allotted to the media. McKnight told Ryan he thinks he’ll be able to play vs. Buffalo. …Rookie S Josh Bush (concussion-like symptoms) wore a red non-contact pinnie during practice. …LB Ricky Sapp (high ankle sprain) and WR Chaz Schilens (high ankle sprain) both practiced.