After a relatively healthy offseason, the Jets' wide receiving corps is in rough shape after injuries to various extent to Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Jalin Marshall. This article will summarize the nature of each respective injury and the respective recovery process.
One half of the dynamic duo, Brandon Marshall is playing through a MCL sprain and an undisclosed foot injury. The Medial Collateral Ligament is a major ligament in the knee located on the medial (inside) portion of the knee and prevents it form buckling inward while contributing to the stability of the knee as a whole. Given that Marshall is continuing the play with this injury, I imagine that he has a grade I sprain (slight tear of the ligament). While the normal recovery time for a grade I sprain is typically 3 weeks, it will be much longer in this case since Marshall is not fully resting and still playing. Despite the limited participation in practice, Marshall has to make sure not to get severely banged up in that knee or he can miss some valuable time. Hard to say if/when Marshall will truly be 100% with that knee during the rest of the season but hopefully it will not slow him down too much.
It has recently been revealed that the other half of the dynamic duo, Eric Decker, is out with a partial rotator cuff tear.The rotator cuff is a group of four small muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis) that work collectively to stabilize the shoulder during movement. These muscles help keep the head of the humerus (ball) in the glenoid fossa of the scapula (socket). Individually, the supraspinatus abducts (moves away from the middle of the body), while the subscapularis internally rotates the shoulder (turns towards the body); the infraspinatus and teres minor externally rotate the shoulder (turn away from the body). It is unknown which of the four muscles is torn but a partial tear means that it is grade II (which typically takes 6-8 weeks to fully heal).
These muscles are largely important when throwing a ball, a task that Decker does not have to perform. As a result, Decker can return sooner than a throwing athlete; his primarily need for the rotator cuff is to stabilize his arm while he moves it to catch the ball, stiff-arms a defender, or land on the it. For this reason, Decker can certainly play without being 100%, but it will be painful every time that shoulder gets hit or he lands on it. Similar to B. Marshall, it's hard to say how long he will miss and when that shoulder will truly be healthy again given that it is an injury he can live with throughout the season as long as minimally gets aggravated from week to week.
Lastly, kick returner Jalin Marshall has been enduring through a labral tear in his shoulder. The shoulder labrum is cartilage that surrounds the glenoid fossa. It functions to stabilize the glenohumeral joint (aka the shoulder joint) and deepen the socket so the humerus (the arm bone) fits better in the socket to move smoothly. Several ligaments attach at the labrum thus making the labrum crucial for stability in the shoulder. The stability of the shoulder is very important for a kick returner especially when he is trying to fend off a defenders with a stiff arm or making sure the force from the tackle does not injure the ligaments or muscles around the shoulder complex.
Depending on the severity of the tear, surgery may be required or, like his teammates, J. Marshall can play injured given that his primary role is to return kicks. Of course, that means that the Jets would suffer if they needed to delve into the depth chart at WR, but conceivably J. Marshall can play through pain to field a kick and get tackled after running. If surgery is required, J. Marshall is looking at a 6 month recovery at best, effectively ending his season; until then, it is unknown how long he will be out.
Each player can conceivably play however it will only prolong the overall recovery process; the trainers will certainly have to be effective with pain management throughout the game/season for each player if he/they choose to play with their respective injury. Without a doubt, it will come at the risk of further injury or a consequential new injury. Through all this uncertainty, one thing that is certain that the Jets' wide receiving corps is pretty banged up after looking healthy all offseason.