FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rex Ryan has not dashed his Super Bowl hopes -- or the chance Darrelle Revis will be there on the field with the New York Jets this season.
Revis tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee at Miami last Sunday, but the Jets will wait until after the All-Pro cornerback has surgery in a few weeks to decide on his fate.
"You know what, and I've talked to Darrelle and all that, let's just have him go through surgery," Ryan said Friday. "Let's see what happens when he goes through surgery because there's that 0.0002 per cent chance that he could play in the Super Bowl or something, so why would you take that option away from him?"
It wasn't a bold Super Bowl guarantee or prediction, as Ryan has been known to offer in the past. But, rather, it's the coach holding onto the hope that his best player might make an incredibly fast recovery -- as the team makes a deep playoff run.
"Let's just put it this way: My thought is, if you're fortunate enough to make it to that big game and he's fortunate enough to be healthy," Ryan said, "I know our fans will want him playing just like I would want him playing."
The 27-year-old Revis was injured in the third quarter of the Jets' 23-20 overtime victory, falling awkwardly and grabbing his knee without making any contact with another player. An MRI exam confirmed the Jets' worst fears Monday morning that the ACL was torn.
Typically, patients with similar injuries wait a few weeks before surgery but begin the rehabilitation process to strengthen the leg in hopes that that will help expedite the healing after the operation. In fact, Revis' business agent posted pictures on Twitter of the cornerback working out Friday.
While it seems highly unlikely Revis will return this season, even as late as February for the Super Bowl, what the Jets are doing is not unprecedented.
In 1995, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Rod Woodson became the first player to return from reconstructive knee surgery in the same season. Woodson tore an ACL in the season opener against Detroit, but the Steelers kept his roster spot open -- and he came back to play in the Super Bowl against Dallas.
San Diego's Philip Rivers tore an ACL in the AFC championship game in 2008, but was back on the practice field for minicamp 100 days later. New England's Wes Welker also returned about four months after a similar knee injury in 2010.
"I just want to take him through surgery and see what the doctors say when they're in there," Ryan said, "and we'll see what happens."
By not placing Revis on IR now, the Jets essentially will be going one man short of the 53-player roster maximum until they make a final decision. New York has not ruled out putting Revis on the NFL's new injured reserve/designated for return list, which teams can use for one player per season. That player would be able to return to practice after six weeks and play in a game after eight.
But for now, it makes sense for the Jets to wait until after surgery instead of risking using that designation on a player who could end up missing several months anyway.
Ryan added that there wasn't necessarily anything the team saw in the MRI exams to give them heightened optimism, but just wants Revis to have the surgery before a decision is made.
"You don't have to make a snap decision and say, 'Well, let's just place him on IR and replace him with somebody,"' Ryan said. "Like I said, if you are fortunate enough to get (to the Super Bowl), why wouldn't you at least, if he does well in the surgery and he is healthy for that and is targeted for that, why wouldn't you believe in yourself enough to give yourself that opportunity?
"And, again, I'm not guaranteeing it's going to happen by any stretch."