- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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Mangold, as he has maintained since sustaining the high ankle sprain in a win over Jacksonville, said he wants to be cleared and play against the Ravens Sunday night. And if he is healthy enough, Mangold wants to be out there for the entire game.
"If I can go I imagine I'd be out there the whole time," Mangold said. "...There's continuity amongst the line, there's relationship with the quarterback, flow of the game. Me personally I don't think (splitting time at center is) all that great an idea."
Jets coach Rex Ryan said Mangold would be a game-time decision. Last week the Jets opted not to take Mangold to Oakland, but his physical improvement and the close proximity to Baltimore add to the likelihood that he could play if ready.
"I think if today was the game I would say no," Ryan said. "But the fact that it's a Sunday night game may help the process."
If Mangold can't play, rookie backup Colin Baxter will again get the nod. He played last week and has been taking snaps at center in practice. Considering that the Ravens have a top defensive lineman in Haloti Ngata, Mangold could be the Jets best option at center.
"He's trying to do what he can to get ready," Ryan said. "As competitive as Nick is he'd like that opportunity. Your great competitors want to go against the best, no question, and Nick even though he wouldn't be 100 percent he wants that opportunity. We'll see. We'll do the best decision for the team obviously."
In 2006, Mangold said he had a partially torn hamstring but played through it. That injury was more painful, but his body functioned better despite the injury. The ankle has proved more difficult, he said, because it is harder to move with it.
Even if he misses Ngata, Mangold is confident he'll get other chances to see the best.
"You go against great guys in the NFL in the week in and week out," Mangold said.
Jane McManus is a reporter and columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.
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