New York Jets Injury Report: Nick Mangold May Miss a Crucial Patch of Games

Joseph Kuchie@@jkuchieCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18:   Nick Mangold #74 and Santonio Holmes #10 of the New York Jets celebrate during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

With three big match-ups coming up for the New York Jets in Weeks 3-6, center Nick Mangold's ankle injury couldn't have come at a worse time.

Mangold suffered a high ankle sprain late in the first quarter against Jacksonville on Sunday, and is expected to miss two to three weeks. If the pro-bowl center misses all three weeks, he will miss games against Oakland, Baltimore, and New England.

All three teams have top defensive linemen on their unit, and the Jets offensive line will have to go up against players like Vince Wilfork, Richard Seymour, and Haloti Ngata. Baltimore and New England have given the Jets trouble in the past, and the Raiders seem to be on the rise after putting up 58 points in two games.

The biggest concern for the Jets is their depth. New York is already starting two inexperienced linemen in Matt Slauson and Wayne Hunter, and the team doesn't have experienced backups on the depth chart. Long time backup Rob Turner is out for the season with a leg injury, and the only other center on the roster is rookie Colin Baxter.

Mangold was considered the anchor for the Jets offensive line, but despite his play the team has still struggled with their blocking assignments. Wayne Hunter is close to playing himself out of the lineup, and the once powerful "ground and pound" is only averaging 73 yards per game rushing. They have also given up a middle of the road five sacks in two games against the Cowboys and Jaguars.

Jets head coach Rex Ryan told the media that Mangold's status for next week is "iffy", and that Baxter has been asking Mangold questions for next week's game.

According to the LA Times, Baxter said, "I'm definitely going to be in his ear this week, asking him questions about techniques and plays and assignments, just making sure I've got everything straight, seeing how he would do it".

Baxter doesn't seem to be prepared for NFL action yet, but the Jets really don't have a choice on such short notice. Free agency is weak after Ryan Kalil and Olin Kreutz signed with other teams, and New York may be stuck with what they have.

Mangold will be tested again this week, but all roads lead to him not playing next week against Oakland.