|By ANDREA ADELSON, AP Sports Writer|
September 26, 2005
NEW YORK (AP) -- Jets quarterback Chad Pennington will miss the rest of the season because of a torn right rotator cuff, The Associated Press learned Monday night.
Pennington's injury was confirmed by a person with knowledge of his condition, but who declined to be identified because the team had not made an official announcement.
An MRI exam showed Pennington tore his rotator cuff in Sunday's 26-20 overtime loss to Jacksonville. The NFL Network originally reported the injury, the second time Pennington has had this tear in less than a year.
Pennington was expected to visit noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Alabama on Tuesday.
Backup Jay Fiedler also damaged his shoulder Sunday and will be sidelined, leaving third-stringer Brooks Bollinger to play quarterback against Baltimore this weekend.
Last season, Pennington missed three games with the same injury and had offseason surgery to repair it. He was sacked on consecutive plays during the Jets' first series of the second half against Jacksonville. On third-and-11, Pennington was taken down by Bobby McCray and fumbled for the second straight down and recovered the ball, but his shoulder was injured on the play.
Fiedler came in, but was hit while completing a 16-yard pass to Justin McCareins -- his sixth play in place of Pennington -- and hurt his shoulder.
Pennington came back to lead the Jets (1-2) on two scoring drives, both capped by field goals, but clearly was hurting and said after the game that the injury felt ``similar to last year.''
``It's frustrating and demoralizing,'' Pennington said. ``I worked really hard to get back to playing, putting in all the extra hours in over time, and trying to come back to be out there on the field. When something like that happens, it really tests you. It tests your willpower, your mind and your confidence.''
Despite the injury, Edwards thought he and Pennington had made the right call by letting him back in against the Jaguars instead of going with Bollinger -- though the play calling was limited by Pennington not being able to throw long.
``He gave us the best chance to do what we needed to do to win the game,'' Edwards said. ``I had reservations, but he was able to go in and do some things.''
Pennington also had a major injury in 2003, when he broke his left wrist in a preseason game and missed six regular-season games.
Fiedler was acquired this season to give Pennington an experienced backup and he shared much of the preseason work. A downcast Fiedler indicated after the game that he was fearing the worst.
``I kind of landed with my arm above my shoulder and I felt something go,'' he said Sunday. ``I knew I wasn't going to be able to throw a football.''
Bollinger is confident he can shoulder the task.
Bollinger, in his third season with the Jets out of Wisconsin, has appeared in just one NFL game, last year against Arizona. He replaced an injured Quincy Carter in the Jets' 13-3 win and was 5-of-9 for 60 yards.
``I'm just going out to try and execute the plays that they call with knowing that I have an understanding of how to manage a football game and what I need to do to help the team win,'' Bollinger said. ``I'm not trying to make it into rocket science.''
When asked if the team would consider signing a free agent, such as Vinny Testaverde, Edwards said the Jets would discuss that once they had definite diagnoses on Pennington and Fiedler.
``All the powers that be will huddle up,'' Edwards said. ``We'll get a lot of phone calls from agents, I'm sure.''
As for Bollinger, he's looking at his NFL starting debut as a chance to show the Jets what he can do -- but he's focused on the task at hand: beating the Ravens.
``I think anytime you get an opportunity in there as a quarterback, especially not being a first-round pick or whatever, it's an unbelievable opportunity,'' he said. ``It can turn into anything, but again, there's enough on my mind and I have enough to worry about this week that whatever it turns out to be down the road, fine, great, but I'm just worried about this week.''
Edwards said an MRI revealed that offensive tackle Jason Fabini has a Grade II sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee, but will be fitted for a brace and his status for the game against Baltimore was uncertain. Linebacker Eric Barton has a strained ankle, and his status for Sunday's game was uncertain.
AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak contributed to this story.
Updated on Monday, Sep 26, 2005 8:19 pm EDT