Jets have no idea if Sam Darnold can play next week

Sam Darnold finished Thursday’s loss to Denver after leaving the field briefly in the first quarter, but the Jets’ starting quarterback is hardly a certainty to start in Week 5 against Arizona with what the team is calling a sprained right shoulder.

Head coach Adam Gase said Friday that Darnold didn’t “feel real great today” and then provided a murky answer when asked if the third-year QB could miss time with the injury for the winless Jets.

“I think anything is on the table right now,” Gase said on a conference call. “I haven’t really had a chance to talk to him in detail, just really when I saw him, it was more about how he felt right now.

“That’s why we gotta circle back with the doctors, we gotta circle back with the trainers, (GM) Joe (Douglas) and myself, we’ll get together with those guys, then we’ll get with Sam. We just need to make sure that we lay everything out and kind of see where we go from here. What’s best for him, not just next week, but long-term.”

Darnold was injured on a hard sack by Broncos linebacker Alexander Johnson late in the first quarter, with the 2018 first-round pick immediately grabbing for his shoulder after being slammed to the turf.

Darnold, who had scampered for a 46-yard touchdown run earlier in the quarter, went to the locker room for tests but returned to the huddle a few minutes later. Veteran backup Joe Flacco played four snaps in his absence, completing both of his pass attempts for 16 yards.

“We’re still kind of evaluating (Darnold), just seeing what our options are and how’s that going to be for practice as compared to games. We just have a lot of questions to answer there,” Gase said. “He doesn’t feel real great today.

“We just gotta kind of see what our management program is going to be with him, how does that look with practice compared to the game? We just have a lot to go through. But we’re 12 hours out from leaving the stadium (Thursday) night, so we have some time here to figure out before Wednesday (of next week).”

Darnold finished the 37-28 loss with 23 completions on 42 passing attempts for 230 yards without a TD pass or an interception. He also registered a Jets quarterback record 84 rushing yards on six attempts, mostly on his long scoring run in the first quarter.

“There was a lot of good. I thought he did a really unbelievable job just seeing his toughness and his willingness to go from the locker room and run right out there on that third down,” Gase said. “That was very impressive to see what kind of competitor he was.

“There are some things that we definitely need to get cleaned up to where he moves on in his progression or we spit the ball out just a tick sooner. You see a few plays where you see him go through the progression and it’s exactly what you want. We just have to keep helping him be more consistent in that area.”

Gase also wasn’t prepared to criticize the unpenalized tackle by Johnson that caused Darnold’s injury.

“It’s hard for me to say on the hit that Sam got hurt on,” Gase said. “I don’t know if it was hard for them to tell with him. He had to escape from the pocket a couple of times and got free. I don’t know how the officials saw that.”

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