Jets coach Todd Bowles says Ryan Fitzpatrick will start at QB, barring setback on thumb

By Dennis Waszak Jr.


FLORHAM PARK, N.J. _ Ryan Fitzpatrick is on track to start against his former team.

New York Jets coach Todd Bowles announced that Fitzpatrick will be under centre against the Houston Texans on Sunday, barring any setbacks with his surgically repaired left thumb. The quarterback fully participated in practice Thursday, a day after sitting out team drills.

“I thought he did a good job,” Bowles said. “I don’t think he was any worse for wear from last week. He’s not taking pain medicine or anything, so he had a full practice. We’ll see Sunday.”

Fitzpatrick was injured at Oakland on Nov. 1 when he was hit on a play by the Raiders’ Charles Woodson. He left that game, but played through the injury the next two games with his thumb on his non-throwing hand in a brace and covered by a glove.

He opted to have surgery to repair a torn ligament last Friday, the day after the Jets’ 22-17 loss to Buffalo, given that New York had nine days before its next game. Waiting until the end of the season for surgery could have led to a more complicated procedure. Fitzpatrick is still wearing the brace and glove, and likely will continue to do so for several weeks as the wound heals.

The announcement was expected, but Bowles wanted to see how Fitzpatrick handled a practice before declaring him ready to play. Offensive co-ordinator Chan Gailey said Fitzpatrick was able to take snaps without any issues and basically was able to do “everything” during practice.

“To be honest with you, he looked like last week,” Gailey said. “That was good.”

Fitzpatrick acknowledged Wednesday that the thumb was causing him a little bit more pain than before the surgery because of the incision from the procedure. But he was confident he would be starting at Houston, the team that traded him during the off-season.

Fitzpatrick started 12 games for the Texans last season, but was lost for the season in December when he broke his left leg during a game at Indianapolis. Houston dealt him to the Jets in March, and Fitzpatrick has helped New York to a 5-4 record while throwing for 1,983 yards with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

“They had their plan of what they wanted to do and I didn’t happen to be in those plans,” Fitzpatrick said Wednesday. “Everybody has to move on in this league.”

NOTES: DL Sheldon Richardson sat out again with an ailing hamstring and Bowles maintains he’ll probably be a game-time decision. “I don’t know if he’ll be full speed (Friday),” Bowles said. “He ran around a little bit today.” … CB Dee Milliner’s availability is also uncertain as he has missed the last two days with an illness. He returned to the active roster last week and made his season debut against Buffalo after injuring his wrist in training camp. “He’s been sick for a couple of days,” Bowles said. “He’s been under the weather. He’s got a high temperature and everything else.” … S Dion Bailey (high ankle sprain) missed practice again and appears likely to miss his second straight game. … CB Antonio Cromartie (quadriceps), WR Brandon Marshall (toe, ankle), S Calvin Pryor (ankle) and CB Darrelle Revis (hip) were all full participants after being limited Wednesday.


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