FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP)New York Jets cornerback D.J. Reed will be sidelined against the Denver Broncos on Sunday as he continues to recover from a concussion.

Coach Robert Saleh announced Friday that Reed still had not cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol, leaving the Jets without one of their key defensive leaders when they face Russell Wilson and the Broncos.

Saleh wouldn’t reveal who would start in Reed’s place opposite Sauce Gardner, but nickelback Michael Carter II and former starter Bryce Hall could be options. Backup cornerback Brandin Echols will also miss the game with a hamstring injury.

“We’ll see,” Saleh said. “We have a plan, and we’ll wait until Sunday.”

Reed had a Pro Bowl-caliber year last season, when he was a bit overshadowed by Gardner, who was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year. The two give the Jets arguably the best cornerback combination in the league.

“D.J. is a special football player,” Saleh said. “He alleviates some of the pressure of trying to be perfect with regards to matchups because you feel comfortable about all of your matchups when those two are on the field at the same time. Any time you’re without a player of his caliber, you’re kind of put behind the eight ball, but we’ll be fine.”

Reed, who signed with the Jets as a free agent last offseason, finished New York’s game against Kansas City last Sunday night, but Saleh said he had “a couple of symptoms” earlier in the week. Saleh remained optimistic Reed would clear the concussion protocol, but the cornerback didn’t practice. Reed is third on the team with 28 overall tackles.

Carter has emerged as one of the league’s top slot cornerbacks, so the Jets could opt to leave him there rather than bounce him outside with Gardner.

Hall was a fifth-round pick out of Virginia in 2020 who started in 24 games during his first two seasons, including all 17 contests in 2021. He struggled in coverage at times and became a backup last year after the Jets signed Reed and drafted Gardner. Hall has become a standout on special teams since seeing his role on defense diminish.

“Just love his mindset,” Saleh said of Hall. “Guys like him, they look at the role they’re in and find ways to attack it, find ways to get better, and he’s done that.”

New York’s secondary did get some good news with safety Tony Adams set to return after missing two games with a hamstring injury.

Aaron Rodgers has said a few times during his appearances on “The Pat McAfee Show” he’s approaching his recovery from a torn left Achilles tendon as if he’ll return later this season.

While it might seem a farfetched goal to some, the Jets aren’t among the naysayers.

“I wouldn’t put anything past him,” Saleh said. “When people doubt him, I think he’s the type of guy that gets stronger. I think that’s why I like him so much, because when someone tells me I can’t do something, I just go, ‘Well, watch me.’ And it’s the same thing. He’s got that mindset where if someone tells him he’s not capable or something’s impossible, he’s like, ‘You’ll see.’

“So, no, I don’t put it past him.”

If the 39-year-old quarterback comes back late in the season, that would mean the Jets are likely making a playoff push – and with a rejuvenated Zach Wilson under center. That could make an interesting dilemma for Saleh.

“I’m just worried about this one,” a laughing Saleh said of the game against Denver. “If that problem shows up, we’ll all be very happy.”

NOTES: OL Billy Turner (toe) was an addition to the injury report. He didn’t practice Friday and was listed as questionable, but Saleh wasn’t concerned about his availability for the game. … LB Sam Eguavoen (ankle) was limited after missing the first two days of practice and listed as questionable. … Also questionable were S Jarrick Bernard-Converse (foot) and OT Carter Warren (shoulder), who both had their 21-day practice windows begin this week and could be activated in time to make their NFL debuts Sunday. Bernard-Converse has been on the physically unable to perform list, while Warren has been on injured reserve.

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