FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP)New York Jets offensive tackle Duane Brown returned to practice and was a full participant Thursday, beginning the 21-day window for him to be activated from the injured reserve list.
The 38-year-old Brown has been sidelined the past five games with a hip injury and a shoulder ailment. It’s uncertain if he’ll be ready to play in the Jets’ game Monday night against the Los Angeles Chargers, but his impending return will be a big boost to an offensive line that has been hit hard by injuries.
Brown started the first two games at left tackle after having surgery in the offseason to repair a torn left rotator cuff, which he played through last season. He gradually returned to practice during training camp but acknowledged he was “a bit ambitious in my recovery time to get back.”
While speaking to reporters Wednesday, Brown said his shoulder wasn’t as strong as it could’ve been. And then he injured his hip in the second game of the season at Dallas.
“I do feel a lot better now,” Brown said, adding that his shoulder is “a lot stronger” now. “But I still have to trust the process of getting back into it and see how I feel and go from there.”
The Jets’ offensive line lost starting center Connor McGovern (knee) last week against the Giants, as well as backup center and guard Wes Schweitzer (calf). Both are on IR. Versatile O-lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker (Achilles tendon) is out for the season. Meanwhile, rookie Joe Tippmann, who started four games at right guard and is also the second-string center, missed one game with a quadriceps injury. Tippmann, who was limited at practice Thursday, could start at center this week if he’s healthy.
Laken Tomlinson, who has started every game at left guard, showed up on the injury report with a hamstring ailment that limited him at practice.
The Jets didn’t make any trade deadline deals for offensive linemen this week, but they signed 35-year-old Rodger Saffold to the practice squad.
New York is set to have its fifth different offensive line combination in eight games on Monday night.
When Brown returns, he’ll likely reclaim his spot at left tackle – which means Mekhi Becton would slide back to the right side.
“To see his progress has been amazing,” Brown said. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence. He’s playing at a high level. I know he’ll continue to rise. I’m just trying to come back and get my practices going and go from there. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but he’s playing at an extremely high level and I’m proud of him.”
NOTES: LB Quincy Williams was selected the AFC’s defensive player of the month after having 45 tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks and a forced fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Williams’ younger brother Quinnen won the same award last October. … LB Chazz Surratt didn’t practice with an ankle injury. … Becton (knee) and WR Xavier Gipson (ankle) were limited, while WRs Irvin Charles and Randall Cobb, who missed the last game with shoulder injuries, were full participants.
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