Jets' Leonhard questionable, Gholston out vs. Patriots

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets safety Jim Leonhard is questionable for Sunday's game at New England after being limited in practice with a broken right thumb.

Leonhard, who was injured during last Sunday's loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, returned to practice Friday and participated in individual drills as well as some team activities while wearing a cast on his hand.

"It was better than I thought it would be," Leonhard said of practicing with the cast. "If I wasn't able to do that today, it would have been very hard to play on Sunday."

Jets coach Rex Ryan said he'd consult with Leonhard and the team's trainers to see how the safety feels leading up to the game Sunday.

"If it was up to me, I'd like to be out there," Leonhard said.

Eric Smith would start opposite Kerry Rhodes if Leonhard can't play.

"He'll definitely want to be out there," Ryan said of Leonhard. "There's no doubt about that, but he also knows how important this game is. If he doesn't think that he can play and isn't up to it, then he knows what we need and he'll be honest. Again, I would not be shocked to see him out there."

Even if he plays, Leonhard will be replaced on punt returns by Jerricho Cotchery. The sure-handed wide receiver last returned punts in 2005 and averaged 7.8 yards per return.

Ryan also ruled out linebacker Vernon Gholston for the second consecutive week with a hamstring injury. Gholston was injured in practice last Monday in the Jets' first workout off the bye-week break.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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