Thursday, November 3, 2011
Updated: November 4, 2:06 PM ET
Mike DeVito, Kenrick Ellis practice
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets defensive tackle Mike DeVito practiced Thursday for the first time since spraining his knee two weeks ago, but he still hasn't been cleared to play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
"I'm not 100 percent sure," said coach Rex Ryan, who remained hopeful.
DeVito was limited in practice, one day after a strenuous individual workout with the strength and conditioning coach. That gave Ryan cause for optimism.
"I was a lot less confident (Wednesday) than (Thursday)," Ryan said. "He practiced some reps with the defense, so I feel good. We'll see how he responds. (Wednesday), they worked him pretty hard ... and sometimes you get a setback, but he didn't have a setback. So I'm encouraged by that."
Every player on the roster practiced Thursday, including wide receiver Plaxico Burress (lower-back stiffness) and rookie defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis (sprained ankle). Burress returned from the bye-week break with a sore back and is receiving heat treatment.
Ryan said he isn't alarmed.
"We don't want to run him into the ground," he said. "We want him to be 100 percent when we play on Sunday."
DeVito is one of the Jets' top run stuffers, and defending the run will be a key against the Bills (5-2), led by Fred Jackson. Jackson has five 100-yard rushing games. DeVito, hurt in practice, missed the Jets' last game, a 27-21 win over the San Diego Chargers, and used the bye week to rehab his injury.
Same for Ellis, who was injured in the first quarter of the San Diego game. He, too, returned to practice on a limited basis, but his chances of playing Sunday appear questionable. With Ellis and DeVito banged up, the Jets have only five healthy defensive linemen.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.