New York Jets rookie running back Breece Hall and versatile offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker will both miss the rest of the season with injuries.
Coach Robert Saleh confirmed Monday that Hall has a torn ACL in his left knee, which is what the team initially feared. An MRI revealed the severity of the injury, which happened in the second quarter of the Jets’ 16-9 victory at Denver on Sunday.
The Jets moved quickly to replace Hall by trading a conditional late-round draft pick to Jacksonville on Monday night for James Robinson, according to a person familiar with the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the trade had not been formally finalized.
Robinson, a third-year pro who lost his starting job to former Clemson star Travis Etienne two weeks ago, still needs to pass a physical. Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said Monday that the running back has been dealing with ”lower-body issues, mostly in his knees right now.”
Robinson has 81 carries for 340 yards and three touchdowns this season to go along with nine catches for 46 yards and a score. He totaled 1,837 yards rushing, 566 yards receiving and 18 total TDs in his first two years with Jacksonville.
Vera-Tucker, who has started at left guard, left tackle, right guard and right tackle during his two seasons, has a torn triceps that will require surgery. He was also hurt in the second quarter with what was announced as an elbow injury.
Losing the two is a tough blow for the Jets, who have won four in a row – while mostly relying on the running game to power the offense during that streak. And Hall and Vera-Tucker were major parts of that.
Hall, a second-round pick out of Iowa State, was one of the NFL’s top rookies before the injury as a key playmaker in the offense of the surprising 5-2 Jets. He has a team-leading 463 yards rushing and four touchdowns on 80 attempts, including a 62-yard TD run against the Broncos during which he hit a top speed of 21.87 mph according to Next Gen Stats, the fastest by a ball carrier this season.
He was the first Jets player since 2009 to run for a touchdown in four straight games. Hall also had 19 catches for 218 yards and a TD, providing a dual threat out of the backfield.
Michael Carter, a fourth-round pick last year out of North Carolina, will likely handle the bulk of the carries moving forward. He was the starter for much of his rookie season and has 228 yards and two TDs on 66 carries this year. Carter also has 20 catches for 151 yards.
Veteran Ty Johnson is also on the roster, and undrafted rookie Zonovan Knight is expected to be signed from the Jets’ practice squad to the active roster.
Vera-Tucker, a first-round pick last year out of USC, earned the respect of coaches and teammates for being able to play multiple positions on the O-line and filling in seamlessly for other injured players. According to Sportradar, Vera-Tucker was one of just three players since 2006 to start at four offensive line positions in his first 21 games.
He started the last three games at right tackle and will be replaced by former Bengals first-rounder Cedric Ogbuehi.
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