It was an absolutely brutal start to the 2021 season for the New York Jets. Three starters left Sunday’s Week 1 game against the Carolina Panthers due to injury. They did not return, including left tackle Mekhi Becton, who was emotional as team personnel carted him off the field and into the locker room with an apparent knee injury.
Injuries mar New York Jets’ season opener
The CBS crew broadcasting the game observed medical staffers performing the Lachman test on Becton’s knee, which is a manual exam that checks the structural integrity of the anterior cruciate ligament. But an NFL Network report suggests he may have avoided that fate.
The original diagnosis is a sprained MCL, the report stated, with an MRI to come to confirm. MCL injuries typically do not need surgery, but rather heal on their own in around six weeks.
Becton got hurt on the same play in which Jets rookie Zach Wilson threw his first touchdown pass. The rookie quarterback’s celebration was short-lived because of the cost — his blindside protector seems to have suffered a significant injury.
Becton went down and stayed down long after the play, prompting teammates to take a knee in prayer and new coach Robert Saleh to go on the field to check on him.
The second-year OT’s young, promising career has yet to reach its potential, largely because of injuries. He dealt with a foot issue much of his rookie campaign, during which he committed 7 penalties and allowed 7 sacks.
The Jets had hoped the 11th overall pick from 2020 would be a foundational player for their organizational rebuild.
Mekhi Becton was not the only Jet injured
Two starting defenders also left the game and did not return — Linebacker Jamien Sherwood (foot) and safety Lamarcus Joyner (elbow).
Sherwood got hurt in his NFL debut. The fifth-round pick out of Auburn earned a starting spot with an impressive camp.
Joyner, meanwhile, was making his Jets debut. The veteran defensive back signed a one-year deal with New York in free agency. Joyner is in Year 8 of an NFL career that began with the Rams before he signed with the Raiders in 2019.