Jets LB Harris still can't practice on ankle, but coach hopes he'll play

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets coach Rex Ryan is optimistic that David Harris will play in this weekend's AFC wild-card playoff game at Cincinnati despite the linebacker missing a second consecutive day of practice Wednesday with a sprained right ankle.

"I think he'll go just because of the guy he is," Ryan said of Harris. "I know he's jogging on it, so hopefully he'll be able to practice maybe, but more importantly, play."

Harris, the Jets' leading tackler, wasn't on the field for practice or on the stationary bikes Wednesday while the team worked outdoors.

"It's a big concern," Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said. "I know it's encouraging he's starting to run a little bit today, but at this time of year, you want to be healthy and all guns-a-blazin'. For us to have one of our key guys a game-time decision is an issue for us."

Harris, one of the leaders of the NFL's top-ranked defense, injured the ankle during the first half of the regular-season finale against the Bengals on Sunday. He watched from the sideline in the second half.

Harris' backup, Ryan Fowler, was limited in practice after taking a blow to the head during the 37-0 victory over the Bengals on Sunday. If either Harris or Fowler can't go, Kenwin Cummings would make his NFL debut in their place.

Jets running back Thomas Jones, who set a career high with 1,402 rushing yards, was a full participant in practice despite being listed on the injury report with a knee ailment.

"He's going to play, you know that," Ryan said. "He just had a little swelling in the knee."

Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (hip), defensive end Shaun Ellis (knee) and cornerback Donald Strickland (quadriceps) were limited, and punter Steve Weatherford (right hamstring) was a full participant after resting Tuesday.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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