Jets running back Joe McKnight gutted out a sparkling performance on Sunday in a 29-26 overtime loss to the Patriots playing on essentially one ankle. He plans to do it all over again this Sunday against the Dolphins.
McKnight was held out of Wednesday’s practice and sources tell Metro New York he may not practice this week due to a high ankle sprain he suffered on a kickoff return in a Week 5 blowout win of the Colts. In the lead up to the Patriots game, he looked doubtful to play despite his promises to the media throughout the week he would be on the field. He is saying the same thing again this week.
“I’m playing this week too,” McKnight said on Wednesday. “We have a bye week coming up so I’ll rest during the bye week.”
In the loss to the Patriots, McKnight had four kickoff returns for 116 yards and added seven rushes for 23 yards. He admits to having severe pain throughout the game, but chose instead to push through it.
But a running back who has often been criticized by the fans stepped up in a major way on Sunday and certainly answered questions about his dedication to the team. Playing the way he did and doing so with a high ankle sprain certainly has turned him into a respected player in the locker room.
“I hope so. I just want to go out there and give it all for my teammates and win — that was my main focus,” McKnight said. “It’s a big game this week; it was a big game for us last week for first place [to try and] beat the Patriots. I just wanted to go out there and show the team I can help.”
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He found a source of inspiration in fiery Jets special team coach Mike Westhoff. In 1988, Westhoff was diagnosed with cancer in his left femur. It was a battle with cancer that has left him with an occasional limp.
“I was in pain but if Westhoff can beat his hip, his leg cancer, I can play through a little ankle sprain,” McKnight said.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.