Gas2No99 Posted December 30, 2016 Share Posted December 30, 2016 Did Jets botch Mo Wilkerson's ankle rehab? He says there was 'no plan' Resident HackJetsHaterESPN Staff Writer FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- This one is hard to figure. Reflecting on his disappointing season, New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson questioned the handling of his surgically repaired ankle, saying there was "no game plan" at the start of the season. That, he believes, may have hampered his recovery. "We just didn't have a game plan as far as myself and the training staff," Wilkerson said Thursday. "We didn't have a game plan going into the season. We didn't get one until maybe halfway through the season. I'm happy that we did find a plan. It's working, and we're going to continue to do that throughout the offseason." Wilkerson said he wasn't putting all the blame on the training staff. He said it was "mutual." Head trainer John Mellody is well-respected in league circles, so it's hard to believe he didn't have a plan. Maybe it was just the wrong plan. Let's examine the facts. Wilkerson underwent surgery last January to repair a fractured right fibula (lower leg). He rehabbed on his own during the offseason (he was unsigned) and sat out part of training camp, but he was in the opening-day lineup. In the first six games, he played 96 percent of the defensive snaps (371 of 386) -- one of the highest playing-time percentages of any defensive lineman in the NFL. He missed the seventh game because of ankle pain. At that point, his playing time was scaled back. Over the first six weeks, coach Todd Bowles downplayed Wilkerson's condition, claiming it wasn't a factor in his performance. Bowles said repeatedly that Wilkerson wasn't being overworked. Evidently, Wilkerson believes otherwise. "I guess I thought I was good to go," he said, alluding to the start of the season. "Maybe I just needed more time, more rehab." The Jets, who signed Wilkerson to a five-year, $86 million contract in July, did a poor job of protecting their investment. At the same time, Wilkerson must take some responsibility, too. He should've been more communicative with the training staff. Maybe he kept quiet because he felt pressure to play because of the huge contract. "It was my first (major) injury," he said. "There should've been (a plan), but there wasn't. There's one in place now. That's all that matters. It's in the past. It's not like you can go back and change it." Wilkerson, who has only 3.5 sacks in 14 games after making the Pro Bowl last season, acknowledged his ankle didn't respond as well as he had hoped at the start of the season. He's confident he'll be 100 percent by next training camp. His surgeon told him it would take a year "to get back to being the player that I am." Along the way, Wilkerson has received criticism for his play. He brought some of it on himself by missing a team meeting, resulting in a one-quarter benching. "At the end of the way, people know who I am," he said. "People are always going to criticize me, regardless. I'm not concerned about that. I know the player I am and capable of being. People in the building know who I am and what I can do. [It] really doesn't matter what other people say or feel about me." 2 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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