NEW YORK — The New York Jets’ quarterback woes just got worse.
Trevor Siemian will be sidelined for the rest of the season with an ankle injury, and third-stringer Luke Falk, a former Washington State quarterback, will start for New York at New England on Sunday — and beyond until Sam Darnold returns from illness.
Coach Adam Gase announced Tuesday that Siemian has ligament damage, suffered in the 23-3 loss Monday to the Cleveland Brown.
“We’re still going through the procedures as far as surgery options,” Gase said. “So, obviously, we’ll have to address our quarterback position from here on out.”
Siemian was starting after Darnold was diagnosed with mononucleosis last week. Darnold is expected to miss at least a few more games, but Gase said the quarterback was at the team’s facility Tuesday after resting at home all last week.
“He’s feeling better, but really it’s the doctors letting us know when to proceed with him,” Gase said.
Siemian was injured in the second quarter when he threw a long incomplete pass to Ryan Griffin and Cleveland’s Myles Garrett slammed into him and fell on top of him — with the quarterback’s left leg bending awkwardly under him. The Browns defensive end was penalized for roughing the passer.
Siemian was somehow able to get up under his own power and walk off the field, but gingerly and with a limp. He was on crutches and his left foot was in a walking boot in the locker room after the game.
“I think all of us were surprised that when you watch it, it wasn’t a break, like probably what a lot of us have seen in the past,” Gase said. “I mean, it’s an ugly looking play. I think there’s a good amount of damage to where surgery will be needed and it’s going to be time for him to recover.”
Falk replaced Siemian and was 20 of 25 for 198 yards in his NFL debut. That came just hours after he was promoted from the practice squad to back up Siemian.
Next, he’ll make his first NFL start — against the AFC East rival Patriots, who are 2-0 and have outscored opponents 76-3.
Falk was a sixth-round draft pick last year by Tennessee. He was among the Titans’ final cuts and claimed by Miami, where Gase was then the coach. Falk was waived by the Dolphins in May and claimed by Gase and the Jets. He was among the Jets’ final cuts, but added to the practice squad after beating out Davis Webb in the preseason.
Gase said the Jets are in the discussions stage as far as potential quarterback signings, with general manager Joe Douglas and the scouting staffs sifting through available players.
“We’re just trying to figure out what’s best for us, especially for this game, for this week,” Gase said.
Darnold said Tuesday during his weekly spot on “The Michael Kay Show” on 98.7 ESPN New York he’s feeling better and is aiming to return in Week 5 against the Philadelphia Eagles. That would mean he would miss only two games.
“There was a really bad four-day stretch there where I also had strep throat during the mono, so it was a bad few days,” Darnold said in his first public comments since becoming ill. “The worst thing about this sickness is that now that I’m feeling better, I still can’t do anything. There’s nothing I can do about it. So, that’s the worst part about this.
“And the timing couldn’t be worse, either. You know, right at the beginning of the season.”
The 22-year-old Darnold said he’s unsure how he contracted the illness, but added he began feeling some effects from it a few nights before the Jets’ season-opening loss to Buffalo. He was 28-of-41 passing for 175 yards and a touchdown in that game.
“I definitely wasn’t feeling 100 percent, to be honest with you,” Darnold said. “The night before, I got a really bad night’s sleep. Really a couple of nights before the game, I got really bad nights’ sleep, waking up three or four times during the night with cold sweats, so I wasn’t feel myself. During the game, with adrenalin and all that, you can sort of mask it. But I was probably around 80, 85 percent at that point. Obviously, I could’ve played better.”