Jets wide receiver Vyncint Smith (17) returns a kick during...

Jets wide receiver Vyncint Smith (17) returns a kick during the first half of the Dallas Cowboys at the New York Jets on October 13, 2019. Credit: Lee S. Weissman/Lee S. Weissman

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The Jets could be without wide receiver Vyncint Smith for at least the first month of the season.

Smith needs surgery to repair a core muscle, a league source confirmed. The timetable for his return is 5-to-8 weeks. Smith saw a specialist on Monday after suffering the injury last week. He is scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday.

It’s a tough break for Smith and the Jets. The 24-year-old Smith was taking first-team reps on Friday.

The Jets open the season Sept. 13 at Buffalo, and already were thin at wide receiver. They have been without rookie Denzel Mims for the first three practices of training camp due to a hamstring injury. The Jets came to terms on a deal with veteran receiver Chris Hogan on Sunday.

Smith played in 13 games for the Jets last season, and started four times. He caught 17 passes for 225 yards and had a rushing touchdown.

More injuries

Linebacker James Burgess hurt his lower back during a non-contact individual drill and had to leave Monday’s practice. Inside linebacker is another position where the Jets are short

Burgess was the Jets’ leading tackler last year, as he stepped in after injuries to C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson. Mosley opted out of 2020 due to concerns over COVID-19, and Williamson currently is on the Physically Unable to Perform List as he continues his rehab from a torn ACL. Williams is expected to be activated before the season, but the Jets can't afford more injuries at that position.

“All it takes is one or two guys to go down in one group and number-wise you’re struggling,” coach Adam Gase said on a Zoom call after practice. “It can affect the entire group really quickly. Reps go up for certain guys and the next thing you know you have another injury. The workload becomes problematic.”

Neville Hewitt and second-year player Blake Cashman are two returning players who started at inside linebacker last year, and played with the first-team on Monday. The Jets also have B.J. Bello and signed former Ravens starter Patrick Onwuasor to play the position.

Two-minute drill

The Jets just wore upper pads in their first padded practice since December. It lasted 90 minutes, and will increase in length each day, according to the agreement between the NFL and NFLPA. … Offensive lineman Cameron Clark (shoulder), defensive lineman Bronson Kaufusi (hamstring), defensive end Jabari Zuniga (quad) and corners Pierre Desir (hamstring) and Brian Poole (dehydration) didn’t practice.

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