The Terminator has been terminated.
The Jets announced on Wednesday that they’ve reached an injury settlement with fullback John Conner, though head coach Rex Ryan wouldn’t rule out bringing him back at some point.
Hampered by a knee injury in preseason, Conner has recently been battling a hamstring injury that has limited him to just three games this season. The injury settlement is the result of Conner’s multiple injuries but also the rise of fullback Lex Hilliard, who was signed two weeks ago by the Jets. Hilliard received praise from Ryan for his role as a fullback and also on special teams, calling him “a really good addition.”
Ryan wouldn’t rule out keeping Conner and Hilliard both on the roster at some point.
“[It] basically doesn’t preclude us not bringing him back at some point. That’s a possibility and he could be back with us but we quite honestly needed the spot,” Ryan said. “We’re going to bring up Marcus Dowtin from the practice squad.”
Dowtin is an undrafted free agent linebacker out of North Alabama whom the Jets are very high on. He was impressive in rookie minicamp and throughout preseason.
Three days after the Jets saw the return of the ground and pound in their 35-9 win over the Colts, Ryan was unwilling to say running backs Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight will miss the game against the Patriots this Sunday although both were unable to practice on Wednesday.
For Powell, reports indicate that his Monday MRI revealed a dislocated shoulder, a blow to the offense as the second-year running back is second on the team with 34 rushing attempts and leads all running backs with an average of 3.9 yards per carry.
“I know today, right now, they’re not practicing. We’ll see their availability later on,” Ryan said,
According to reports, the injury to McKnight was a high ankle sprain, suffered in the third quarter during a 61-yard run. He would have been a valuable part of the offense as a change of pace running back and a pass-catching option out of the backfield against the Patriots. But arguably his biggest asset is on special teams.
As of Week 6, McKnight is the No. 5 kickoff returner in the NFL, averaging 29.7 yards per return. He’s also been a consistent part of the punt return team, typically rushing the punter.
Nose tackle Sione Pouha (back), nose tackle Kenrick Ellis (knee), center Nick Mangold (ankle), wide receiver Clyde Gates (shoulder), safety Eric Smith (knee), as well as the aforementioned Powell and McKnight, didn’t practice on Wednesday. Linebacker Bart Scott (toe), tight end Dustin Keller (hamstring), wide receiver Stephen Hill (hamstring) and linebacker Bryan Thomas (hamstring) were all limited.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.