HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -New York Jets running back Thomas Jones has a strained right calf muscle and hopes to return in time for the team's season opener, his agent said Monday.
Drew Rosenhaus, Jones' agent, told The Associated Press that he spoke Monday to the star running back, who updated him on the severity of the injury.
``He had an MRI on the right calf and it was determined that he has what is essentially a strain of the calf muscle,'' Rosenhaus said. ``He said the doctor was vague in terms of how much time he would miss, but it would probably be a week-to-week injury.''
Rosenhaus added that Jones told him he was ``confident he would be ready'' for the Jets' season opener at home against New England on Sept. 9.
Jones walked with a slight limp Monday, a day after injuring the leg, and spent most of the morning session working on a hand bike and doing calisthenics. Jones' leg had a smaller wrap - from the top of the ankle to the top of the calf - around it than the one he had on after he was injured.
Per team policy, the Jets didn't reveal the nature or severity of the injury, which was first speculated by some to be a high ankle sprain. Jones wasn't made available to the media Sunday or Monday.
``I can tell you that he is working extremely hard, and he'll be back as quickly as he can,'' coach Eric Mangini said. ``Thomas has a pretty strong track record. He's been pretty durable.''
Mangini would not say whether Jones would play in the team's next preseason game at home against Minnesota on Friday night.
``Really, I expect him as soon as he can go,'' Mangini said.
Jones hadn't been touched during running back-linebacker drills Sunday when he went to plant his right foot in front of Brad Kassell and fell. He immediately took off his helmet and untied his shoe before he was examined by a trainer, who wrapped the leg. Jones then limped to the sideline and had a more substantial wrap applied.
Leon Washington worked with the first team offense for the second straight day in Jones' absence.
Losing Jones, who rushed for 1,210 yards and six touchdowns while leading the Bears to the Super Bowl last season, for any significant amount of time would be a blow. The Jets acquired him from Chicago in the offseason to give them a bona fide No. 1 running back after going with a four-man rotation last season.
``Thomas has to focus on himself and get back as quickly as possible,'' quarterback Chad Pennington said.
In Jones' absence, Washington will likely get the reps with the first team, while veteran Tony Hollings and undrafted rookies Danny Ware and Alvin Banks will split the rest of the carries.
``The other guys have opportunities now to make their case and show what they can do for our football team,'' Pennington said. ``That's the beauty of football: It's a team game and we're all in this together. And when an injury happens, you have to make sure everybody else steps up and we're all accountable to each other and do what's necessary to keep on going.''

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