FLORHAM PARK, NJ — The New York Jets, who had been relatively healthy on defense, have lost defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins for up to four to six weeks with a dislocated elbow, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
The Jets (6-3) have a bye this week, so it’s possible he will miss only three games. His return date will be dictated by the healing process, the source said.
Jets coach Robert Saleh told reporters Monday that Rankins is week-to-week and the team will re-evaluate him after the bye week. He said they’re “hopeful” Rankins can avoid injured reserve.
Rankins was injured in the first half of Sunday’s 20-17 win over the Buffalo Bills. After being used situationally last season, he stepped into a starting role on the front four and has played well against the run.
In nine games, Rankins has 25 tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks. He ranks fourth in snaps played (313) among the defensive linemen.
The Jets are deep on the defensive line — they dressed 10 for the first time Sunday — but most of it is at defensive end. With Rankins out, the only other tackles are Quinnen Williams, Nathan Shepherd and Solomon Thomas. Rookie end Micheal Clemons has some position flexibility and could slide inside. They also can elevate Tanzel Smart from the practice squad. Smart played well in the preseason.
The Jets rank seventh in total yards allowed. Until Rankins’ injury, the only starter on defense to miss time was linebacker Quincy Williams, who sat two games with a sprained ankle.