NEW YORK — The next step in C.J. Mosley's return will come on the practice field Thursday.
The Jets are planning to have the star linebacker participate in individual drills this week as he continues to recover from a groin injury that has sidelined him since the season opener. But whether he'll be healthy enough to play Monday night against New England remains uncertain.
"I'm hopeful for (Thursday), that he'll be able to do individual (drills) and just kind of see how it goes," coach Adam Gase said at the team's facility in Florham Park, New Jersey. "I think we're just taking this minute-to-minute."
Mosley was hurt in the third quarter in New York's 17-16 loss to Buffalo. The veteran linebacker's injury was worse than initially thought and Mosley has yet to practice since.
"At the end of the day, we want to make the right decision, whatever we decide to do," Gase said. "I think this is just going to be more than just me saying, 'Hey, it looks good,' and the trainers. I think this is going to be full organization, C.J. involved, as far as what's the best thing for him."
Mosley signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the Jets in March after playing his first five NFL seasons in Baltimore. He made an immediate impact for New York with an interception returned for a touchdown and a fumble recovery against the Bills, but was hurt while knocking away a pass in the end zone with 4:04 left in the third quarter.
The Jets were clearly affected by Mosley's absence, with the Bills scoring 17 unanswered points without him on the field. Backup Neville Hewitt has done a solid job filling in with 38 total tackles and two sacks, but Mosley adds an experienced leader on defence.
"As impactful as getting a starting quarterback back," Gase said. "It's that impactful."
New York has seen that firsthand as quarterback Sam Darnold returned last Sunday after missing three games while recovering from mononucleosis and led New York to a 24-22 win over Dallas.
The Jets have their first practice of the week on Thursday with their game against the Patriots on Monday night at home against undefeated New England.
"He's been able to do lot more the last week or so," Gase said. "So, that's why we're at this point where it looks like we can get him out at practice."
Mosley's injury is just one of several the Jets are monitoring this week while preparing to face their undefeated AFC East rivals.
Left tackle Kelvin Beachum is being called "week to week" by Gase with an ankle injury suffering in the win over Dallas. Brandon Shell, previously the starter at right tackle before being benched in favour of rookie Chuma Edoga, could fill in for Beachum again.
Tight end Chris Herndon was activated after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, but is dealing with a hamstring injury suffered in workouts.
"It's going to be about can we get him in practice? How does he feel at practice? How far can he stretch it?" Gase said. "The biggest concern that we have is having any kind of setback because he's a vertical-threat type of player."
Left guard Kelechi Osemele has a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the past two games. Gase wouldn't confirm various published reports that Osemele will have season-ending surgery on the shoulder.
"We're going through our process right now," Gase said.
Alex Lewis has started the past two games in Osemele's place.
Defensive end Henry Anderson (shoulder) is still sidelined, while Hewitt (stinger), running back Trenton Cannon (ankle) and cornerback Nate Hairston (knee) are considered day to day. Linebacker Albert McClellan is in concussion protocol.
All the injuries even caused Gase to change up his usual practice schedule before a Monday night game. He would normally have the team take the field Wednesday and Thursday for full practices with a walkthrough Friday and then one more practice Saturday.
"We're pretty banged up right now, so we were limited on who would have been able to go today," Gase said. "We're light in two positions right now. It just would have been hard for us to get the reps we wanted in, so we just pushed everything back a day."
NOTES: Darnold was selected the AFC offensive player of the week after going 23 of 32 for 338 yards and two TDs with an INT against the Cowboys. ... The Jets signed OLB Frankie Luvu to the practice squad after waiving him Monday. The Jets had a vacant spot after Carolina signed WR Greg Dortch to its active roster.
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