Sports

Jets’ Becton (knee) out minimum of 4-6 weeks

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets, who allowed six sacks in their season opener, suffered a significant blow to their offensive line Monday with the news that left tackle Mekhi Becton will be sidelined a minimum of four to six weeks with a dislocated right knee cap.

Becton, their 2020 first-round draft pick, will seek a second opinion to determine whether surgery is necessary, coach Robert Saleh said. Earlier Monday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Becton is expected to have arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage.

This means rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, who was hit 10 times in Sunday’s 19-14 loss to the Carolina Panthers, will be without his No. 1 blindside protector.

“We feel fortunate we have three legitimate starting tackles,” Saleh said, alluding to George Fant and Morgan Moses in addition to Becton.

Without Becton, the Jets will move Fant to left tackle, his natural position. Moses, who started the season on the bench after losing out to Fant in the right-tackle competition, will become the starter on the right side. His streak of 96 straight starts, all with the Washington Football Team, was snapped on Sunday.

The Jets also lost two starters on defense. Free safety Lamarcus Joyner (torn triceps) will have surgery and miss the remainder of the season. Rookie middle linebacker Jamien Sherwood (sprained ankle) will be sidelined two weeks. Punter Braden Mann (sprained knee) will miss a minimum of four to six weeks.

Becton was injured in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Pass blocking away from the ball, he went down hard when Carolina defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon rolled up the back of his right leg. Becton, writhing in pain as players took a knee around him, was carted to the locker room.

“Mekhi is obviously a one-of-a-kind human being as far as his size and athletic abilities,” guard Greg Van Roten said. “We’re going to miss him and want to get him back as soon as possible, but I think we have the guys in the room to weather the storm.”

Becton took to Twitter on Monday and showed he’s still in good spirits.

This continues a hard-luck run for Becton (6-foot-7, 363 pounds), who was overpowering at times as a rookie. He missed two full games and parts of four others in 2020 because of a nagging shoulder injury.

This season, he injured a foot on the first day of OTA practices in May. It was diagnosed as plantar fasciitis, and he wound up missing the entire offseason. In training camp, he suffered a concussion and missed two weeks of practice before the season opener.

Becton admitted last week that the lost spring contributed to an inconsistent training camp. Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur called out Becton recently, saying he’s “going through some things” and needs to play better. Becton later acknowledged his camp “could’ve been better,” but he said he was “a little confused” by LaFleur’s comments.

The Jets selected him 11th overall in 2020, the first draft pick by general manager Joe Douglas.

To replace Mann, who also was injured Sunday, the Jets will audition punters. Kicker Matt Ammendola did a fantastic job as the emergency punter, averaging 48.5 yards on six punts. He said it was the first time he punted in a game on any level.

The Jets did received some positive news. Wide receiver Jamison Crowder, who tested positive for COVID-19 and missed Week 1, is expected to be cleared to return this week, Saleh said.



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