"He's got three screws, I believe, so if they can tighten them up for this game, we'll see," Ryan said. "He's a tough kid, I'm just telling you. The average guy, there's no way he plays. But Jim Leonhard's not an average guy."
If Leonhard can't play Sunday, Eric Smith would start opposite Kerry Rhodes. Smith, who leads the team with 13 special-teams tackles, has started 10 games and has four interceptions in three-plus seasons with the Jets.
"It's a good opportunity to get out and play and get some more reps on the field," Smith said. "Hopefully we get Jim back, but if not, I'm going to be ready to play."
Leonhard is third on the team with 58 tackles, and he has one interception and 1.5 sacks. He also makes the defensive calls, a duty that would fall to linebacker David Harris in Leonhard's absence.
"If there's any way possible of him playing, I wouldn't be shocked," Ryan said. "But right now with him in a sling or a cast or three screws in his thumb, it wouldn't look good for the common person."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press