This season the New York Jets have already faced key injuries in several positions, positions of value and need. The two big ones thus far have been Dee Milliner and Eric Decker. Milliner missed week 1 but was back in week 2 against the Packers where he aggravated his injury which forced him to miss the week 3 matchup against the Bears. Decker got injured in week 2 and was back in time for the Bears matchup. Unfortunately he pulled himself out in the second quarter due to his hamstring tightening up.
Now Muhammad Wilkerson, perhaps the Jets most valuable player, got injured last week and is still not back at practice. When looking at what happened to Dee Milliner and Eric Decker, are the Jets rushing players back from injury, and therefore hurting themselves in the long run? Will the Jets take a similar approach with Wilkerson and risk the future career of the franchises most valuable player at the moment?
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Clearly neither Milliner or Decker were truly ready to come back, as evidenced by the fact that they both re-injured themselves shortly after they returned to the field. Decker represents the best receiver the Jets have, and without him the offense will likely struggle. However, it probably would have been a more prudent move to let Decker sit one out and heal up fully, instead of going into a prime time matchup with no practice time the week before.
The same can be said of Dee, who might very well represent the future of the secondary for the Jets, but has been plagued by poor play and injuries. Against the Packers he both aggravated his injury and played poorly because of it. Surely having a fully healthy CB out on the field would be more advantageous than rushing a young guy who is clearly still adjusting to the pace of the NFL while also injured.
For the sake of the team and the sanity of the fans hopefully the Jets will approach Wilkerson’s injury with more prudence and restraint. Furthermore, Decker and Milliner, despite how important they are for this team’s success, need to time to fully heal themselves, otherwise they’ll be hobbling around the field week after week, or even worse might be lost for the season. To see an example of how this could happen one only needs to look at the situation over in Washington with Robert Griffin the third, he was constantly brought back from injury to soon and his career is likely in jeopardy now because of it. Thankfully for the Jets Wilkerson’s position has strength in its depth, unlike Milliner or Decker, so it should be easy to sub some one else in, if need be, to handle the workload while big Mo recovers.