- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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Fullback Lex Hilliard, who played in 12 games last season for the Jets, will have season-ending surgery next week to repair a fractured shoulder blade, a league source confirmed Wednesday.
The Jets placed Hilliard on injured reserve Wednesday and signed wide receiver Marcus Rucker.
"That's really unfortunate because Lex is a tremendous player and also a tremendous person," Rex Ryan said.
Hilliard, who missed the first two preseason games due to a rib injury, left the practice field Tuesday in severe pain. Afterward, Rex Ryan mentioned a possible shoulder dislocation.
Even if he had remained healthy, Hilliard would've been hard-pressed to retain his roster spot. Rookie Tommy Bohanon, a seventh-round pick from Wake Forest, has impressed the coaching staff and is in line to win the starting job.
Ryan said the Jets would keep their options open but he was complimentary of Bohanon after Wednesday's practice.
"He's been impressive," Ryan said. "I've been very pleased with Tommy."
Hilliard was one of the few unrestricted free agents that new GM John Idzik decided to retain. Hilliard signed a one-year, $780,000 contract, including a $65,000 signing bonus. The Jets picked him up last season because of his background with former offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. Hilliard rushed eight times for 31 yards and made four receptions for 23 yards in 2012.
He played in only 25 percent of the offensive snaps last season, a total of 271, but he was a steady contributor on special teams (203 snaps).
Bohanon said that he's confident that he can handle the starting role, if necessary.
"I definitely think that I'll be able to go out there and do everything they asked me to do," he said. "That's why I'm out there before practice and after practice working on my technique."