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Jets S Leonhard out for season with broken leg

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By PFW staff

Updated Dec. 4, 2010 @ 9:56 p.m. ET
Originally posted Dec. 3, 2010 @ 3:37 p.m. ET

Jets S Jim Leonhard broke his right leg in Friday's practice and will miss the remainder of the season. Jay Glazer of Fox Sports broke the news, and the team acknowledged the extent of the injury later in the day.

The sixth-year safety, who also is the team's primary punt returner, was carted off the field after getting tangled up with WR Patrick Turner. Head coach Rex Ryan called the injury "terrible news."

Leonhard fractured the tibia in his right leg. The club said his fibula, knee and ankle are all OK. Leonhard underwent surgery Friday night at Morristown Memorial Hospital near the Jets' training facility. Doctors placed a stabilizing rod through his tibia, and the Jets said he's expected to make a full recovery.

The Jets placed Leonhard on injured reserve Saturday but didn't immediately fill his roster spot.

Eric Smith is expected to replace Leonhard in the starting lineup, but don't be surprised if the team signs a defensive back before Monday night. Antonio Cromartie, Brad Smith and Kyle Wilson are candidates to take over the team's punt-return duties.

The way we see it

Leonhard isn't the most talented player on the Jets' defense, but he is one of the more important. As the captain of the secondary, the safety is responsible for adjusting coverages, and Leonhard has a great grasp of Ryan's system, knowing when to play the run or drop back to defend the pass. His versatility will be missed the rest of the way.

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