New York Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson was carted off the field in the fourth quarter of Thursday night's 13-10 loss to the New England Patriots after sustaining an ankle injury, according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport on Twitter:
Jets coach Rex Ryan said he hopes Muhammad Wilkerson didn't suffer a high ankle sprain. Wilkerson left on a cart, received X-Rays last night— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 13, 2013
Unsurprisingly, Jets head coach Rex Ryan is hoping the injury is minor and that Wilkerson will be able to return to action soon, as New York prepares to host division rival Buffalo in Week 3, per ESPN New York's Jane McManus:
"It’s an ankle, but hopefully it's not a high ankle. I’m hoping it’s not."
Wilkerson had X-rays taken shortly after injuring the ankle, but the severity of the injury and a timetable for the 23-year-old's return have yet to be determined.
According to McManus, Wilkerson left the team locker room under his "own power" Thursday night, wearing "a pair of slip-on shoes" with ice wrapped around his right ankle.
A third-year defensive end out of Temple, Wilkerson has appeared in all 34 regular-season games for the Jets since making his rookie debut in 2011. He has three combined tackles and one sack through two games in 2013.
While often overlooked, Wilkerson is a key part of the Jets' defensive unit, which currently ranks inside the top 10 in the NFL through the first two games of the season. New York ranks ninth against the pass and sixth against the run, allowing fewer than 60 rushing yards per game in 2013 in large part because of Wilkerson's play on the defensive line.
Wilkerson is also a threat in passing situations.
In 2012, he ranked second among Jets defenders in sacks, recording five on the year. He also finished the season with 69 total tackles and three forced fumbles for New York.