FLORHAM PARK, N.J — Kris Jenkins’ comeback lasted less than one quarter.
The New York Jets’ defensive tackle will miss the rest of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his surgically repaired left knee in the team’s opener against Baltimore on Monday night.
“Obviously, that’s going to be a huge blow for us,” coach Rex Ryan said Tuesday. “Again, we’re about the team, but I just feel really bad for Kris.”
The extent of the injury was determined Tuesday following an MRI exam.
“I just spoke to Kris and he’s down, but I think he’ll battle and come through this,” Ryan said. “But, it’s a big loss.”
Jenkins was hurt in the opening quarter — the Ravens’ sixth offensive play — of the Jets’ 10-9 loss. He was caught in a pileup on a tackle of fullback Le’Ron McClain and immediately clutched his left knee. He remained on the turf for a few minutes, then got up and limped to the sideline.
Ryan said there had not yet been a date scheduled for surgery.
The 10-year veteran tore the same ACL midway through last season and used a graft from a hamstring to repair it. Monday night’s game was his first in the regular season since that injury.
Jenkins said in training camp that he used the time while he was rehabilitating to do some soul searching, and rededicated himself to football after contemplating retirement. He has often spoken about how he now considers himself a family man first and a football player second, and the latest injury may test his desire to play again.
Ryan said Jenkins hadn’t spoken to him about his long-term plans.
“I think he’s going to get away from it, and then he’ll make a decision,” Ryan said.
Jenkins, one of the team’s leaders, entered training camp in terrific shape after using a cookie diet to help win a weight-loss competition among himself, Ryan and right tackle Damien Woody. He was eased back into the lineup in the preseason, and said he felt 100 percent entering the regular season.
“We lost a heck of a football player,” Ryan said. “The thing is, we did overcome him last year. Our defense rallied around the guys who were out there.”
After Jenkins went down against Buffalo last October, Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito stepped in and were solid in Jenkins’ place. Both players had good games Monday night, but the Jets are not particularly deep on the line. Ryan said the Jets might explore bringing in a veteran to help.
“We’ll consider that, for sure,” Ryan said.
Jenkins, in his third season with the Jets, also tore the ACL in his right knee in 2005 while with Carolina.
“He’s got a physical mismatch against anybody he plays against,” Ryan said. “There’s not too many people walking the face of the Earth that are like that, just a big, powerful man that’s athletic, who’s hard to block one-on-one. Impossible, really.”