Knee injury to keep Jets' Vilma out vs. Buffalo

Updated: October 26, 2007, 5:04 PM ET
Associated Press

Jonathan Vilma

Vilma

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma will miss New York's game against Buffalo on Sunday with a knee injury.

Vilma, who missed practice all week, was listed as out on the team's injury report Friday and it's uncertain how long the former Pro Bowl linebacker will be sidelined.

He was injured sometime during the Jets' loss at Cincinnati last Sunday, when he was removed from the game for a stretch in the second half. The Jets have remained typically tightlipped about the injury, but coach Eric Mangini provided some hope in his press conference earlier in the day.

"You don't rule anybody out in terms of injuries," Mangini said. "It's too different person by person. It's something that if you go one way, a lot of time, the opposite happens. So we always go through the full process, the full level of rehab."

Apparently, that process ended sometime Friday when it was determined Vilma wasn't going to be able to play. Published reports have speculated the injury could be serious and potentially require season-ending surgery, but Mangini has been evasive when asked if that's a possibility.

Vilma hasn't been available to the media since Sunday. Several messages and e-mails left for Tony Fleming, one of Vilma's representatives, weren't immediately answered.

Rookie David Harris, the Jets' second-round draft pick out of Michigan, will take Vilma's spot in the starting lineup against the Bills. The hard-hitting Harris has 24 tackles in limited time this season.

It's uncertain at what point Vilma's injury occurred and Mangini has declined to say whether it is to the linebacker's right or left knee. Except for a stretch during the third quarter at Cincinnati, Vilma was on the field for most of the defensive plays.

Since being chosen in the first round in the 2004 draft, Vilma has played in every Jets game and started all but two. After establishing himself as one of the best playmaking linebackers in the league during his first two seasons, Vilma has struggled to be as effective in Mangini's 3-4 defensive scheme. He's fifth on the team with 39 tackles.

"We're so used to him being out there, hearing his voice and knowing where he's going to be that it's going to be strange," safety Kerry Rhodes said. "It'll be like Ed Reed without Ray Lewis."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE