NY Jets offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker exited Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos in the first half with what was called a calf injury. Now, it's been confirmed that Vera-Tucker suffered a torn Achilles and will miss the remainder of the 2023 season.
Jets head coach Robert Saleh told reporters after the game that there was "concern" that Vera-Tucker may have suffered a serious injury, but the team was awaiting the results of the MRI to confirm.
Reports emerged early Monday morning that there was optimism Vera-Tucker had only sustained a calf injury and that his Achilles was intact. Evidently, that isn't the case.
This is the second year in a row that Vera-Tucker has suffered a season-ending injury on the road against the Broncos. His 2022 season ended prematurely following a triceps injury, and now, almost a year to the day, Vera-Tucker has torn his Achilles in the very same building.
What will the NY Jets do without Alijah Vera-Tucker?
Vera-Tucker started the year at right guard before sliding over to right tackle after Duane Brown's injury. The former USC star's versatility has been a godsend for a Jets offensive line that has battled significant injuries over the last two years.
Former fourth-round pick Max Mitchell stepped in to start for Vera-Tucker following his injury, and the expectation is that he will remain in the starting lineup moving forward, or at least until Brown returns.
This likely means that, even if Brown comes back, the Jets will stick with rookie Joe Tippmann at right guard. Other options at tackle include Billy Turner, moving Mekhi Becton back to the right side, or any of a number of external targets.
This is a massive blow for the Jets — there's no way around it. Vera-Tucker is their best offensive lineman, and his versatility makes him irreplaceable.
Football isn't fair.