Le’Veon Bell headlined a trio of Jets players who will miss at least the next three weeks after being placed on injured reserve on Tuesday.
Bell – who pulled his hamstring in the season-opening loss to the Bills – rookie wide receiver Denzel Mims (hamstring) and linebacker Brian Cashman (groin) were all put on IR. The Jets also signed running back Kalen Ballage, whose failed physical a couple weeks ago nixed a trade with the Dolphins.
Sam Darnold, who struggled in the opener, doesn’t exactly have a litany of weapons entering this week’s game against reigning NFC Champion 49ers at MetLife Stadium.
Bell was injured after getting grabbed and falling on a pass route late in the first half. The Jets decided to shut down the running back for the rest of the month rather than trying to rush him back. Adam Gase said Monday that Bell could miss “a couple weeks,” but it was smart to take a conservative approach with the soft-tissue injury.
“I just know what kind of shape he’s in,” Gase said Monday. “His work ethic and the way he finds ways to play through injury and how he bounces back. I just wouldn’t be surprised if he came back quicker than anticipated. I don’t want to put any kind of restrictions on him.”
Bell finished with just 14 yards on six carries and two receptions for 32 yards before getting pulled in the second half Sunday. It’s a nightmarish start for a player bent on proving that last year’s disappointing campaign was an aberration.
Gase said this summer that he wanted to better utilize Bell’s varied skill set this season.
“We had a lot of things in (Sunday’s) game-plan for him,” Gase said. “A lot of different things. Just trying to find ways to not put him in a box and really try to expand his role as much as possible. Obviously when we took him out of the game, we lost a pretty good chunk of that.”
Gase will now have to lean on 37-year-old Frank Gore along with Josh Adams, who scored late in Sunday’s game, against the 49ers this weekend. It’s unclear at this point whether fourth-round rookie La’Mical Perine, who didn’t play in the opener because of an ankle injury, will be ready for Week 2. Regardless, Darnold will lose one of the few weapons he had at his disposal for the next few weeks.
Mims, who missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury, hurt his other hamstring in the run-up to Week 1. Cashman was hurt on the first series against the Bills. The Jets, who are thin at linebacker, could elevate recently signed Alec Ogletree from the practice squad this week.