FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Sam Darnold could be headed for the sideline this week — and maybe longer.
The New York Jets rookie quarterback has a strained right foot, coach Todd Bowles announced Wednesday, leaving Darnold’s status for the team’s game Sunday against Buffalo in doubt.
“It’s just adversity,” Darnold said after practice. “You’ve just got to deal with it, get better as soon as possible, get back on the field as soon as possible.”
Bowles said it was too early to rule out Darnold for the game, and clarified that the injury was a strain — not a sprain, contrary to published reports.
“They’ve got him listed as day to day,” Bowles said.
Darnold was surprisingly wearing a boot on his foot at the start of practice Wednesday, and watched in sweats and a green Jets cap as McCown and Davis Webb, currently on the practice squad, threw passes in individual drills.
“Obviously, I want to be out there with the guys,” Darnold said. “I want to go out there and play. Hopefully, if I’m able to go out there and play Sunday, I will. If not, I’m just going to treat it as another learning experience. When adversity hits, it’s up to me how to respond. That’s all I can worry about.”
Darnold was injured during the Jets’ 13-6 loss at Miami last Sunday , possibly on a fourth-quarter sack by Cameron Wake in which the quarterback came up limping. He took a few other big hits, so he was uncertain as to when the injury occurred.
Darnold finished the game, and said he was “a little dinged up,” but didn’t indicate he had any serious issues.
“Yeah, I feel fine,” Darnold said Monday. “Some bumps and some bruises, but everything is good.”
Bowles said Monday that Darnold had not expressed to him that he was “dinged up.” Bowles typically speaks to the team’s trainers later in the afternoon on the day after games.
“I mean, it was kind of in the midst of the action,” Darnold explained Wednesday. “Sometimes, you get hurt or nicked around and things just kind of happen. I just thought I was fine coming out of the game and went through protocol and that’s just kind of how it went. Went through some of the tests and something was obviously a little different than usual.”
Darnold dealt with a broken foot in high school that sidelined him for most of his junior season. He said this is not close to as serious an injury.
“Like any injury, I’m just going to go about protocol and do exactly what the trainers do and be in here as much as possible and get better,” he said.
If Darnold is unable to start, 39-year-old backup Josh McCown would take his place. McCown was the starter last season, but hasn’t taken a snap this year as Darnold won the job out of training camp — beating out both McCown and Teddy Bridgewater.
“When you’re in a backup role, you just go in and do your job,” McCown said. “That’s the main thing. We’ll prepare as if — like I do every week — I’m going to be the starter and we’ll go from there.”
Darnold has struggled mightily during the Jets’ three-game losing streak, and he leads the NFL with 14 interceptions.
The No. 3 overall draft pick in April has thrown for 1,934 yards and 11 touchdowns, but his 55.0 percent completion rate and 68.3 quarterback rating rank at the bottom of the league. In his past three games, Darnold has thrown two TD pass and seven interceptions.
The struggles had some fans and media wondering if perhaps Darnold would benefit from sitting a game or two.
Now, it appears he and the Jets might not have a choice.
New York has its bye-week break after the game Sunday against Buffalo, and then doesn’t play again until Nov. 25, when the Jets take on New England. That could give Darnold a few weeks to rest and heal the foot without missing much time.
“We don’t want to rush things,” Darnold said. “That’s one thing we don’t want to do. I’m eager to get back out there on the field with my guys, but at the same time, I’ve got to take care of my body, first and foremost.”
NOTES: WRs Robby Anderson (ankle) and Quincy Enunwa (ankle), TE Neal Sterling (concussion), S Terrence Brooks (illness), C Spencer Long (knee/finger) and NT Steve McLendon didn’t practice. … LBs Frankie Luvu (neck) and Kevin Pierre-Louis (foot), CB Trumaine Johnson (quadriceps) and LG James Carpenter (shoulder) were limited. … The Jets re-signed RB De’Angelo Henderson to their practice squad. A spot was vacated when Cleveland signed CB Juston Burris off the practice squad.
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