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Should the New York Jets Play Nick Mangold at Less Than 100%?

There is an interesting debate about whether the Jets should send Nick Mangold out to the field if he is still feeling the effects of his high ankle sprain. While Mangold's talent is undeniable, he has an injury for which the best cure is rest. It is legitimate to wonder whether the team might be better off sitting him so that he can get fully healthy for later in the year.

I tend to come down on the side of playing him if he can withstand the pain. At even half speed, Mangold is still probably one of the best centers in the league and certainly an upgrade over Colin Baxter. The Jets need him with games against good interior linemen the next two weeks. The NFL season is not like baseball. In baseball with 162 games, it frequently does make sense to sit a guy for a game or two to get him healthy. In football that is a big chunk of the season.

Mangold also plays a position based more on upper body strength than other parts of the field. Yes, athleticism matters at center, but it is a position of attrition. It is not similar to a spot like cornerback, which is primarily based on burst, speed, and the ability to cut. Darrelle Revis' injury a year ago turned him into a defensive back who struggled. Lower body injuries to interior linemen tend to not be as significant.

I think Mangold should play if he can. How about you?