A Jets spokesman said he will be out indefinitely, but the team has no plans to put him on season-ending injured reserve. McElroy will "start throwing soon," according to a source, but the realistic timetable is that he will miss at least four to six weeks.
McElroy, who started Thursday night's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, suffered an apparent dislocation when his throwing hand crashed into the helmet of right guard Matt Kroul while completing a pass.
After the game, McElroy said he popped his thumb back into place on the sideline. He said it still "feels a little loose."
It wasn't immediately clear how long McElroy will be sidelined. The Jets may have to make a decision on whether to place him on season-ending injured reserve.
The Jets now have an opening for a No. 3 quarterback. They also waived fourth-stringer Drew Willy Friday but did invite him to sign with the practice squad if he cuts waivers. So the team is likely looking for a veteran like former Jets backup Kellen Clemens, who is on the roster bubble with the Washington Redskins. Another possibility is Kevin O'Connell, also a former Jet who could be waived by the Dolphins.
The No. 2 quarterback is Mark Brunell, who, despite missing the preseason with a dislocated pinkie and pulled calf muscle, is expected to be ready for the season opener.
Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was used in this report.