Just three days before the Jets' Monday night matchup with the Patriots, starting safety Jim Leonhard suffered a season-ending injury at practice.
The Jets announced that Leonhard suffered the injury on Friday, and head coach Rex Ryan "assumes" it is a broken shin.
Ryan said that losing his starting safety was a "damper," but that wasn't affecting his confidence.
"Do I think we'll win?" he said. "Absolutely."
Leonhard hasn't missed a game since 2007, and he's spent the past three seasons under Ryan, in Baltimore in '08 and the past two seasons with the Jets. According to several reports, he collided with receiver Patrick Turner in practice.
He's second on the team in tackles with 61 and he has one interception.
His absence on defense will no doubt hurt the Jets, but he's just as big a loss on punt returns. He's returned 21 punts this season, averaging 11.3 yards per return. The only player to return a punt this season is rookie Kyle Wilson, who's returned 15 with a 7.4-yard average.
The Jets' options to return punts include rookies Wilson and Joe McKnight, receivers Jerricho Cotchery and Santonio Holmes and cornerback Antonio Cromartie, according to the team's Twitter feed.
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