When the New York Jets took the practice field on Monday, offensive guard Willie Colon was a limited participant after sitting out Sunday's game with a knee injury. When the Jets again took the practice field Tuesday, Colon was no where to be found.
On Wednesday, Colon's season was put to an end. The Jets announced via their official Twitter account that the veteran guard had been placed on the season-ending injured reserve. Taking Colon's roster spot on the 53-man roster is cornerback Dee Milliner, who was activated off the short-term IR.
Colon, 32, is in his third season with the Jets and third as the team's starting guard. While the 10-year veteran was locked in a five-man positional battle in training camp, he beat out the likes of Wesley Johnson, Dakota Dozier, Oday Aboushi and Brian Winters to earn the No. 1 spot at right guard. Jets coach Todd Bowles praised his hunger for the position, and officially named him the starter after the third preseason game.
While Colon struggled mightily a season ago, through the first quarter of this year, he seemed like a new player in Chan Gailey's offense. He was solid in both run and pass blocking, and had kept his penalties down (14 penalties in 2014, one this year). This all while dealing with a nagging knee injury.
Colon missed most of the Jets voluntary offseason workouts resting his knee. While he participated in most training camp practices, his leg began acting up in the regular season. Colon sprained his knee in the Jets Week 3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and missed the team's ensuing game against the Miami Dolphins. In his place, Winters filled in.
Colon returned to the Jets lineup against the Washington Redskins following New York's bye, but over the ensuing weeks, he was mostly limited in practice before taking the field on Sunday. This past weekend, Colon was a surprise scratch from the Jets victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but was still viewed as a player that would suit up for the Jets game this Thursday against the Buffalo Bills.
That was until Bowles expressed some concern for Colon's health on Tuesday, saying "his knee was still sore," despite having not played football in eight days. Bowles later added he was "pessimistic" about his chances of playing Thursday. On Wednesday, all found out why.
While Colon's season has come to an end, Milliner's is now just beginning with the former first-round pick being activated to the roster. Milliner, who hasn't played a game since he ruptured his achilles tendon against the Denver Broncos on Dec. 12 of last year, missed most of training camp after breaking a bone in his wrist. He was placed on the short-term IR on Sept. 6.
Since being selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, Milliner has played in just 16 games in his previous two NFL seasons. He's recorded 62 tackles, three interceptions (all as a rookie) and defended 19 passes.
Milliner has been practicing in full capacity each of the last three weeks. The Jets had until 4 p.m. Wednesday to either activate Milliner, or place him on the season-ending injured reserve.
Milliner's activation really couldn't have come at a better time, either. Jets starting cornerback Antonio Cromartie, starting safety Calvin Pryor and backup safety Dion Bailey are all expected to miss Thursday's game.