Patriots DT Vince Wilfork is going to be disappointed with this news: Jets All-Pro C Nick Mangold will play Sunday, according to Rex Ryan.
Not that there was much doubt. Mangold, who missed the last two games with a high-ankle sprain, increased his rep total Thursday in practice and declared himself ready for the crucial AFC East game in Foxborough.
Mangold and Wilfork, two of the best at their respective positions, have waged many battles over the years. On Thursday, Wilfork was asked by the Boston media if he wants Mangold to play.
"No, I don’t," Wilfork said matter-of-factly. "He’s probably one of the best offensive linemen in the game. He’s definitely a leader on that team for them. I’m pretty sure that they would love for him to play because I think he gives them a spark. It’s absolutely a difference when he’s in and when he’s not in."
Well, he'll be in, and that should provide a calming effect on the line. Mangold is a master at reading defensive fronts and making line calls.
"I can't tell you how easy he makes our job on offense," RB LaDainian Tomlinson said.
In other injury news, WR Plaxico Burress (elbow) practiced fully after sitting out Wednesday. OLB Calvin Pace (abdomen) also returned, but he was limited. Both will play Sunday. The only injured player that won't play is LB Garrett McIntyre (concussions).