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Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Jets All-Pro Nick Mangold practices

By Rich Cimini
ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets' beleaguered offensive line expects to receive a much-needed boost this week with the anticipated return of center Nick Mangold, who practiced Wednesday on a limited basis -- his first Wednesday practice since suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 2.

Mangold, who has missed the last 11 quarters, was in full pads and worked with the starting line during the walk-through period, open to the media. In team drills, he shared reps with rookie Colin Baxter, but the fact that he will be available for a full week of practice bodes well for his chances of playing Sunday against the New England Patriots.

"I'd say (my chances are) pretty good," Mangold said after practice. "We'll see. It's day by day. It's looking good. ... Every day keeps getting a little better."

The All-Pro center wanted to play last Sunday night in Baltimore, but he was declared inactive after failing in a pregame workout to convince the medical staff he was ready.

On a conference call with Boston reporters, Jets coach Rex Ryan said he would like to see one player in particular return to the lineup.

"I'd just like to add one player: I'd like to bring Nick Mangold back," Ryan said. "I think that will be a big help for us. I'm definitely hopeful that Nick will play."

In other injury news, wide receiver Plaxico Burress (elbow) and outside linebacker Calvin Pace (abdomen) both missed practice. Burress landed on his elbow against the Ravens and it swelled Tuesday night, according to Ryan, who said it needed to be drained Wednesday morning.

Ryan said he expects Burress and Pace to play Sunday. The Jets can't afford another significant injury at linebacker, as they've already lost Bryan Thomas to a season-ending Achilles tendon injury.

"It's one of those things where I was talking to the trainers (Tuesday) night, had a little stiffness, had a little inflammation," Burress said. "They just shut me down today but I expect to be out there tomorrow. ... (It's) nothing serious."

The Jets need Mangold because their once-formidable line has struggled this season. Against the Ravens, they allowed two blindside strip sacks that were returned for touchdowns, and quarterback Mark Sanchez was knocked down a total of 10 times.

"It was encouraging to see him taking reps," right guard Brandon Moore said of Mangold. "It's definitely good to have him back."

Baxter has started the last two games at center, but he was benched for three series in the second quarter. That proved disastrous. Left guard Matt Slauson moved to center and disappointing second-year lineman Vladimir Ducasse came in to play left guard, where he was overwhelmed.

Mangold's likely return comes at a time when the Jets are planning to go back to their run-oriented style. No team rushed for more yards in 2009 and 2010 than the Jets, but they drifted away from that over the first four games. Now they've lost two straight, heading into their first AFC East game.

Moore said he welcomed the return to Ground & Pound.

"We won a lot of games with that philosophy," he said. "That's not to say we couldn't win if we played better with the (style) we've been playing, but if you have a formula that works and has been successful, you probably want to get back to that."

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg was used in this report.