NY Jets fans feared the worst when rookie offensive lineman Joe Tippmann exited the team's Week 6 game against the Philadelphia Eagles with what was called a thigh injury.
That fear only grew after the game when head coach Robert Saleh told reporters that Tippmann could be out "a while." However, his injury might not be as bad as initially feared.
Saleh spoke to the media on Monday for the first time in over a week (since the Jets were on a bye), and he told reporters that Tippmann is a "quick healer." The Jets head coach seemed to believe that Tippmann wouldn't be out long-term with the injury.
Saleh did say that the Jets will know more when the team practices on Wednesday, but he also insisted that Tippmann "looked good this morning."
Of course, this is Robert Saleh we're talking about. It's almost impossible to accurately gauge injury updates from him, given his track record. Still, it's encouraging that Tippmann likely isn't out for the season at least.
There was some concern that Tippmann had suffered a torn quad, which likely would have ended his season. The fact that the Jets haven't placed him on the injured reserve and that Saleh heavily suggested he could return soon are good signs that his injury isn't a season-ender.
The NY Jets can't afford to lose Joe Tippmann to a long-term injury
The Jets' offensive line has already dealt with its fair share of injuries this season. Left tackle Duane Brown was placed on the injured reserve just two games into the year. Star guard/tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker had his season ended abruptly due to a torn Achilles suffered against the Denver Broncos.
Veteran guard Wes Schweitzer was called upon to replace Tippmann in Week 6, and he struggled against a talented Eagles defensive line. What's more concerning is that the Jets don't have another backup interior offensive lineman on their roster.
If Tippmann is forced to miss this Sunday's game against the New York Giants, the Jets will likely have to make a move. The only remaining backup offensive linemen are Billy Turner and rookie Carter Warren — both of whom are tackles.
Turner has experience playing guard, but if Schweitzer starts at right guard, the Jets wouldn't have a backup center on their roster. There's no ideal solution on the practice squad, either.
Veteran Dennis Kelly is easily the most experienced option, but he's primarily a tackle and hasn't played guard in almost a decade. Backup interior options include the inexperienced Jason Poe and Xavier Newman-Johnson.
The Jets are in trouble if Tippmann is forced to miss any significant period of time. We should find out more about his status on Wednesday, but at least according to Saleh (for whatever that's worth), there is some optimism.