FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Brandon Marshall is just happy to be walking, and without a limp.
The New York Jets wide receiver will be even more thrilled if his sore left knee is healed enough for him to play Sunday at Kansas City.
“My belief and the school I come from is: Don’t rule me out until Sunday,” Marshall said Monday. “I need all the way up until pregame warmups to see if I’m good to go. Hopefully, I’ll be granted that wish. But maybe I’ll get out there Wednesday, Thursday. You never know with these things.”
Marshall’s knee twisted awkwardly under him after a catch last Thursday night at Buffalo and he left the game briefly before returning. But not before some scary thoughts ran through the 32-year-old receiver’s head.
“I not only thought my knee was messed up, I thought my foot and everything was pretty much gone,” he said. “It felt that way for a couple of minutes. I knew I was OK when I was able to get back on the field.”
The fact he returned to the game was stunning, especially since replays of the injury had many speculating that it could be serious.
“Anything better than having surgery is a blessing,” Marshall said. “I smile and I keep looking at that picture and that play, and I’m just so thankful that I’m still able to be in this locker room preparing with the guys.
“It’s a blessing, I’m going into Year 11, and I just didn’t want it to end that way. Anything other than surgery is going to keep a smile on my face.”
Neither Marshall nor coach Todd Bowles were certain if the receiver will be able to play, with Bowles saying that the team’s first official injury report of the week comes out Wednesday. Bowles did deny a report that Marshall has an injured medial collateral ligament, but wouldn’t clarify the nature of the injury.
Marshall did not practice Monday, as expected, but said that the knee feels “stable.” He didn’t need an MRI, and doctors think the knee is fine structurally.
“I had a limp a couple of days ago,” he said, “and now I’m walking without a limp, so that’s promising.”
Marshall said he’ll rely on Bowles and the doctors to determine whether he’ll be able to play, but made it clear that he’d be out there against the Chiefs if the decision were left to him.
“I’ve always prided myself on being tough and being out there no matter what’s going on, and being relentless with my rehab,” he said. “If I take any time off, I may not have a job.”
While that’s a bit of an exaggeration, considering he set franchise records last season with 109 catches and 1,502 yards receiving, Marshall is using the play of his teammates as motivation.
Eric Decker has eight catches for a team-leading 163 yards and two touchdowns, while Quincy Enunwa leads the Jets with 13 receptions for 146 yards and a TD.
“I hear Quincy in the background saying, ‘I’m taking your spot,'” Marshall joked. “And I hear Decker saying, ‘I’m the guy.’ So I can’t take any time off. … I’m really like the third receiver, the way they’re playing. … The second thing I think about is, this is all I’ve got. I’m going on Year 11. I can’t afford to be standing on the sideline. You’ve heard the story: I haven’t been to the playoffs, and it’s my fault that none of my teams have been to the playoffs. I don’t want that to happen again this year.
“I want to take advantage of the opportunities that I have because there are not a lot left.”
Bowles said the Jets wouldn’t necessarily worry about a reoccurrence or lingering of the injury when determining Marshall’s availability.
“I’ll be able to tell whether he will be healthy enough to play,” Bowles said, “or whether he’s not going to be able to play.”
In other injuries, Decker has a sore shoulder that kept him out of practice. Bowles said the injury occurred against the Bills, and wasn’t sure if it would keep Decker sidelined beyond Monday.
Left guard James Carpenter (strained calf) and linebacker Erin Henderson (foot) didn’t practice. Rookie outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins, who hasn’t played yet, is “progressing,” according to Bowles and could be closer to making his NFL debut.