News may not be all bad for Ferguson

Jets coach Herman Edwards said nose tackle Jason Ferguson appeared encouraged after his visit to noted shoulder surgeron Dr. James Andrews. Within the next 10 days, the Jets should know whether or not Ferguson needs season-ending surgery on his torn right rotator cuff.

Almost two weeks after he suffered a torn rotator cuff, there is hope that nose tackle Jason Ferguson will be able to avoid season-ending surgery. Jets coach Herman Edwards said Friday that Ferguson was buoyed by a visit to renowned shoulder specialist Dr. James Andrews and that Ferguson should know within the next 10 days whether or not he can come back this year.

"He had a little bit of pep," Edwards said of Ferguson. "The doctor said we're doing the right treatment for him. In a week-and-a-half they'll look at him again and let us know if we can rehab it or if they'll have to do surgery."

Even if he doesn't need surgery, Ferguson is expected to miss the first month of the season. Potential replacements Jason Wiltz and Maurice Anderson will each get considerable time in the Jets' preseason opener Saturday night against Atlanta.

TIME FOR CHAD: Chad Pennington should play the middle two quarters in Saturday night's game. Edwards said Pennington will work with the first-team offensive line in the second quarter so that he and the linemen can develop a rapport.

Pennington has struggled for much of the off-season but Edwards is hoping the second-year signal caller can relax on Saturday. "I don't want him to try to play perfect," Edwards said. "Just throw it and don't worry about it."

HOPING FOR MANY HAPPY RETURNS: Edwards admits he'd like to find a younger player to fill in as the top punt return man until Santana Moss returns in November but said he's also intrigued by the potential of cornerback Aaron Glenn, who will split the first-team punt duties Saturday with Laveranues Coles.

"He wants to go back there and take a shot at it," Edwards said. "I think he'll do OK. The running thing, he's got down pat. He's got to catch it first."

Kevin Swayne, James Rooths and Matt Farmer will also return punts Saturday. Edwards said he expects the Jets to continue looking inward for a fill-in for Moss for at least the next week but did hint that some more experienced players might become available once NFL teams make their final cuts. "We waited on a couple of guys [in the offseason] and we got them, so we'll see how that works out," Edwards said.

SIGHT OF THE DAY: Vinny Testaverde cycling into the Netherlands cafeteria at Hofstra surrounded both in front and in back of him by day campers heading to the building's basement.

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