Earlier Friday we brought you coverage of the controversial decision to play cornerback Dee Milliner both last week against the Green Bay Packers, and potentially this Monday against the Chicago Bears. Milliner was less than stellar to say the least in last weeks effort, looking lost and reportedly telling Antonio Allen to replace him mid-game as he was not at 100%.
Jets fans clamoring for the coaching staff to rest Milliner may get their wish, as the embattled defensive back apparently strained or somehow injured his quadriceps muscle during his limited Wednesday practice. This throws Milliner's already questionable status for the Monday night game into heavier doubt.
Rex Ryan revealed to the media that while Milliner lined up in positional drills, he was unable to practice Friday and was limited on Thursday after an apparent quad injury on Wednesday. Ryan had this to say when asked about Milliner's status for Monday night:
"I'm hopeful, but the fact he didn't practice today is not a great sign. But I'm hopeful he'll play. You'd like for your guys to practice, but if a guy can't, I'm not going to say he absolutely can't play. If a guy doesn't practice and he's low man on the depth chart, then he's not playing. But if he's a really good player, we're not going to back yourself into that corner."
This is one of countless statements by Ryan to media since the preseason regarding his desperation at cornerback. Although the often-boisterous head coach has proven adaptable, he is clearly overwhelmed by injuries and poor play from his defensive backs. Defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman offered his perspective on how instrumental Dee (and his good health) might be.
"I don't think his physical condition was a hindrance," Thurman said Friday. "When a guy's on the football field, he's 100 percent. It's about playing your technique and fundamentals properly and doing what you're coached to do. That's where lack of game-time prep, when you haven't gotten the reps in, can hurt you.
Even if Dee Milliner is able to play on Monday, reports suggesting he was slowed down by his injury or asked other DBs to pick up the slack for him lend credibility to the argument that Milliner should rest until he is fully recovered. Results against Green Bay were not favorable, and this was prior to any tightness in Dee's quad.
If nothing else, this does not help to salvage Milliner's growing reputation as injury prone.