Jets lose RB Breece Hall, OL Alijah Vera-Tucker for season

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- In the span of six minutes Sunday, the New York Jets lost rookie running back Breece Hall and right tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker -- two of their top players -- to season-ending injuries.

An MRI confirmed an ACL tear and a meniscus injury for Hall, who was one of the leading candidates for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Vera-Tucker, who distinguished himself by excelling at three different positions on the offensive line this season, will have surgery to repair a triceps injury.

Wide receiver Corey Davis (knee), who also left Sunday's game, is considered day-to-day.

Both Hall and Vera-Tucker were hurt in the second quarter of the Jets' 16-9 victory over the Denver Broncos. Their injuries occurred on consecutive offensive plays, separated by a Broncos possession.

"It's always tough," coach Robert Saleh said Monday. "Those are two potential Pro Bowlers between Breece and AVT."

They're huge blows to the Jets (5-2), who have a four-game winning streak and will face the New England Patriots on Sunday in a key AFC East matchup at MetLife Stadium.

Hall will be difficult to replace, as he ranks seventh in the NFL with 681 yards from scrimmage. With him on the field, the Jets averaged 5.6 yards per rush, which would be the top mark in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. With Hall off the field, they've averaged only 3.6, which would rank 29th.

The Jets will lean on Michael Carter and Ty Johnson as their top two backs. Carter, their leading rusher in 2021, actually began the season as their RB1 before yielding to Hall. Zonovan Knight, an undrafted rookie from NC State, likely will be elevated from the practice squad for depth purposes.

"I've done it in the past and I did it certain weeks last year," Carter said Monday. "Being able to carry [the load] is something I'm very much capable of."

Carter has rushed for 228 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 3.5 yards per carry.

Vera-Tucker, who started the season at right guard but moved to left tackle and then right tackle because of injuries on the line, will be replaced by recent addition Cedric Ogbuehi, who made his Jets debut in Denver. A 2015 first-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, he was on the Houston Texans' practice squad when he left Sept. 27 to sign a contract with the Jets.

Vera-Tucker became the second former first-round pick on the offensive line to suffer a season-ending injury. Right tackle Mekhi Becton went down in training camp with a knee injury. Swing tackle George Fant (knee) is eligible to come off injured reserve this week, but that appears unlikely, according to Saleh.

"I think they'll be fine," Saleh said of his team's spirits amid the injuries. "Somebody go up to Michael Carter and say he can't do it. Right? Somebody go to Ty Johnson and tell him he can't do it. Somebody go to Cedric and tell him he can't do it. They're going to look at you sideways. We've got all the faith in the world in those guys."

One player expected to return is wide receiver Elijah Moore, who was benched Sunday after requesting a trade three days earlier.

Moore rejoined the team Monday and will be active against the Patriots, Saleh said. He didn't make the trip to Denver, as the Jets didn't think he was in the right frame of mind after being sent home from practice Thursday following a heated exchanged with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, sources said. A few hours later, Moore, unhappy with his role, asked to be traded.

The Jets have said they will not trade Moore, a 2021 second-round pick.

"This isn't the time to alienate Elijah," Saleh said. "He doesn't need to be alienated from this organization. We love him; we think the world of him. We know what he can do from a football standout and how much he can help us. And we just want to help him. We're not moving him off to the side."

Moore had yet to comment.