Initial X-rays after the game against the Seahawks were negative, and Tebow played against St. Louis and continued to experience soreness. The soreness intensified Tuesday morning, but Tebow was a full participant in practice that day. An MRI exam and CT scan Tuesday night revealed the fractures, and Ryan was informed that night.
Ryan made Tebow active for the game against the Patriots after speaking with him and the quarterback undergoing a pregame evaluation. Tebow also refused any pain-killing injections before the game. He took no snaps on offense or special teams, and third-stringer Greg McElroy was inactive — leaving the Jets with just one healthy quarterback in their biggest game of the season.
‘‘I know Tim was cleared to play,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘Obviously, if he was not cleared to play or if they thought he was in serious jeopardy to himself, then he never would have been activated.’’
But, it was a curious decision considering that Ryan also told offensive coordinator Tony Sparano and special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff that Tebow wasn’t to be used unless it was an emergency. Apparently, 49-19 didn’t qualify as such.
‘‘People have played with cracked ribs,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘It was never told to me that he could not play. It was just the opposite, that he could play. It was me that said, ‘No, I'm not going to play him unless we absolutely have to.’ Tim came to me, and he’s like, ‘I can play. I want to play.'’’
Ryan acknowledged that he ‘‘considered’’ making McElroy active against the Patriots, but decided Tebow would be the guy to go in if necessary. Tebow said after the game that he is unsure how long he might be hindered by the injury, and Ryan would only say that ‘‘we'll see how the week progresses’’ as to whether McElroy might be the backup in the team’s next game against Arizona on Dec. 2.
‘‘He absolutely, 100 percent,’’ Ryan said of Tebow, ‘‘could have played in that game.’’
NOTES: Ryan confirmed that WR Clyde Gates suffered a concussion against the Patriots. He had no other injury updates, although WR Chaz Schilens said after the game that he also had a head injury. ... LB Bart Scott, still dealing with a hyperextended big toe, played in only 11 defensive snaps and Ryan acknowledged that ‘‘we should have played him more.’’
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL