FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The New York Jets are hoping they aren't down a defensive back against the New England Patriots.
Backup cornerback Drew Coleman, the team's nickel back and a key special teams player, injured a knee late in practice Thursday and his status for the playoff game Sunday at Foxborough was uncertain.
Coach Rex Ryan said Coleman was hurt at the end of the team's last drill of practice. Neither Ryan nor defensive coordinator Mike Pettine were sure of the extent of the injury or if it would prevent Coleman from playing against the Patriots on Sunday.
"Well, we'll see," Ryan said. "We don't know anything right now. He was just doing a drill and kind of went on the ground or something."
If Coleman can't play, rookie Kyle Wilson would likely be the main replacement at nickel back, although Pettine said it could be a committee of players — including Marquice Cole, who had two interceptions in the regular-season finale against Buffalo, and Isaiah Trufant — in the role.
"If he can't go, sure, it would be a blow," Pettine said. "But, the one thing I think we feel pretty good about is our depth on the back end."
Wide receiver-kick returner Brad Smith (groin) was limited and his status is also uncertain. Smith, who ranked second in the league with 28.6 yards per return and two touchdowns, was injured in the team's win at Indianapolis last Saturday.
Special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff said cornerback Antonio Cromartie would return kicks if Smith can't go, adding it could be a game-time decision.
"We're prepared to go without him," Westhoff said of Smith, "but we'd love to have him."
Cromartie had perhaps the most crucial kickoff return of the season after Smith went out, taking a kick 47 yards to the Jets 46 and helping set up the winning drive against the Colts.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis (hamstring) and safety James Ihedigbo (knee/ankle) were also limited, but expected to be fine for the game. Right guard Brandon Moore, who didn't practice Wednesday with a back issue, was a full participant.