Jets Provide Encouraging Injury Update on Left Tackle Mekhi Becton

Mekhi Becton

Getty New York Jets left tackle Mekhi Becton being helped off the field after a knee injury on September 12, 2021.

It was a tough Week 1 for the New York Jets, and not just because they lost their road game against the Carolina Panthers 19-14.

One loss isn’t the end of the world in a 17-game season, major injuries are a different story. Left tackle Mekhi Becton dropped to the ground in pain as Zach Wilson threw his first career touchdown pass to Corey Davis in what can only be described as a bittersweet moment.

“Yeah it’s rough,” the rookie quarterback told reporters, “it kind of kills the whole play a little bit and you hope he’s doing okay… my prayers are with him and everyone else that got dinged up or hurt today.”

Safety Lamarcus Joyner was on the list of integral injuries as well.

The 2020 first-round pick has dealt with nagging injuries since entering the league, including both plantar fasciitis and a concussion this summer. Some feel his weight could be the issue, but Becton was in the best shape of his football career heading into 2021.

Needless to say, when he went down Jets fans felt that Carl Lawson emptiness all over again. Knee injuries are always scary and Becton was noticeably emotional as trainers assisted him off the field.

He ended up taking a cart from the sidelines to the locker room.

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Becton Injury Update

There have been multiple updates on ‘the Big Ticket’ since his injury on September 12. The first came in from NFL insider Ian Rapoport. He reported that initial tests appeared to indicate an MCL sprain, but noted that the franchise was waiting on the MRI to confirm.

On Monday, September 13, Rapoport tweeted out new information that Becton had actually dislocated his knee and that it had to be popped back into place. The recovery timeline was still unclear at this point, although general knee dislocations can take athletes six to eight weeks to heal according to the National Health Service.

Less than 45 minutes later, fellow NFL insider Adam Schefter finally provided a more definite answer on the Jets’ left tackle.

“Becton is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks while also needing arthroscopic knee surgery to clean up damaged cartilage,” tweeted Schefter.

Rapoport sums the entire situation up pretty well in the interview below.

Considering the way the injury looked on live television, this may be one of the best-case scenarios for the big man. First off, there is no ligament tear. There’s also no patellar tear or any season-ending damage.

Outside of a complete false alarm (knee bruise or mild sprain), this is probably the shortest recovery time that fans could have hoped for. Becton will be eligible for the short-term injured reserve based on this diagnosis, which requires a minimum absence of three games in 2021.

That would mean that the earliest Becton could return is Week 5 in London against the Atlanta Falcons. That seems highly unlikely, especially with a Week 6 bye on the schedule.

Week 7 in New England seems like a more reasonable goal for the star offensive lineman.

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Good Thing Joe Douglas Paid for an Insurance Policy

Head coach Robert Saleh told the media that the Jets have “three starters at tackle when most teams are just begging for one.” He was including Becton in this statement, of course, but the praise was meant to be directed at George Fant and Morgan Moses.

Back when reports first leaked that the franchise was interested in Moses, many questioned where the veteran O-lineman might fit in with Fant on the roster. Joe Douglas was already invested in the 2020 right tackle and team captain, so the determination in signing Moses raised eyebrows.

At the time, here were the scenarios:

  • Becton’s plantar fasciitis is worse than expected, sound the alarm because Moses is actually the former first-rounders’ Week 1 replacement.
  • Moses is Fant’s replacement being that he underperformed in 2020.
  • Moses is Greg Van Roten’s replacement, the Jets will have Fant kick inside and play guard — this theory didn’t go over well with former Jet Damien Woody.
  • Moses is an insurance policy in case Becton can’t stay on the field.

DING DING DING! We have a winner! It turned out that Fant actually beat out Moses for the starting right tackle job and neither was ever going to play guard. Becton was also healthy long before Week 1, but he was unable to remain healthy.

That insurance policy by Douglas may end up saving the season (and Wilson’s development) for now because the alternative to a Fant-Moses bookend would have been disastrous. Chuma Edoga? Conor McDermott before his injury? Rookie Grant Hermanns?

It wouldn’t have been pretty, let’s just leave it at that. For the moment, the Jets should be able to survive without Becton, the question is whether or not the key left tackle can stay healthy long-term.

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