By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Following the ins and outs of the day-to-day operations of the NFL, you encounter pretty much every possible injury and illness that causes players to miss games. But you don’t often come across a case of mono.
With the Jets, though, that’s the unfortunate development, as head coach Adam Gase told the media that starting quarterback Sam Darnold will not be able to play for New York on Monday Night Football against the Cleveland Browns.
Given the lingering effects of mononucleosis, the Jets believe Darnold will need to miss several games before returning to NFL action. That means the Jets are likely to be without Darnold when they visit the Patriots in Week 3. The Jets have an early bye in Week 4, before visiting the Eagles in Week 5.
Sam Darnold has mono and will miss Monday's game against the Browns, per Adam Gase. pic.twitter.com/b3rUSCVFNM
— SNY (@SNYtv) September 12, 2019
Backup Trevor Siemian will assume the starting QB role in Darnold’s absence. The 27-year-old Siemian completed just 59 percent of his passes in 2017 while steering Denver to a 5-5 record. He threw 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, a significant drop from his 2016 season, when he threw 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Last year, he didn’t play in any games while serving as a backup in Minnesota.
Siemian faced the Patriots in 2016, completing 25 of his 40 passes for 282 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in a 16-3 Patriots win.
Gase told reporters that he has had a player on his roster suffer from mono before. That came with the Dolphins in 2017, and it made Gase have a gut feeling that Darnold was suffering from the same ailment.
“Because they told me that they were running all these tests and they thought it was weird that the antibiotics weren’t working as quick as they thought,” Gase said. “My gut just told me that’s what it is.”
The Jets are coming off a heartbreaking loss at home, blowing a 16-0 lead to lose 17-16 to Buffalo. Darnold went 28 for 41 for 175 yards with one touchdown in that effort.
Gase said the team will need to turn the negative into a positive quickly.
“Is it going to be ‘woe is me, the sky is falling,’ or is it going to be, ‘This is a challenge that we’re going to embrace’?” Gase said. “I think we’re going to look back at this, and this is going to be a good thing for us. I think it’s going to bring that locker room even tighter.”
Elsewhere in Jets health, Gase said that running back Le’Veon Bell will be undergoing an MRI on his shoulder, but that the team is optimistic. Newly acquired receiver Demaryius Thomas remains sidelined with a lingering hamstring issue, but Gase believes Thomas could play on Monday night. The Jets announced a day earlier that receiver Quincy Enunwa will miss the remainder of the season due to a neck injury.