Jets defensive tackle Solomon Thomas said his heart broke when he saw Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard tear his ACL on Monday night.
Thomas can relate. He tore the ACL in his left knee in 2020 at MetLife Stadium while he was a member of the 49ers in a game against the Jets. Shepard’s injury has brought more scrutiny regarding the turf at MetLife Stadium and turf fields in general. Thomas thinks it is time for the NFL to do something.
“I believe in the NFL we shouldn’t have turf fields,” Thomas told The Post. “I believe we should have grass fields like the Premier League in England. The risk of non-contact injury is significantly higher on turf fields. … I believe as players we should be protected better.”
Thomas tore his ACL during a gruesome game for the 49ers in 2020. They lost edge rusher Nick Bosa in the same game to a torn ACL and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo injured his ankle. Thomas said his foot got caught in the turf as he was being blocked and did not give when his knee twisted. He blew out his knee and was lost for the season.
“There’s going to be injuries regardless in football, but on turf they’re going to be more significant and they’re going to be at a higher rate in non-contact [situations],” Thomas said. “In this sport, we have enough contact injuries, so we should eliminate as many non-contact injuries as we can. That’s my belief on it. I’m hoping to one day have the league be all grass fields. Until we get there, we’ll keep fighting for it.”
The turf at MetLife Stadium was installed before the 2020 season. Thomas said he has heard from players that the field was worse before the new turf, but still feels there is an issue.
“It’s a little bit better now but injuries still happen at a high rate on that field,” Thomas said.
LB Quincy Williams (ankle) did not practice Wednesday and is expected to be out for a few weeks with a high-ankle sprain. CB Brandin Echols (hamstring) and DE John Franklin-Myers (toe) were both limited in practice.
Rookie WR Garrett Wilson left the game Sunday with a rib injury after taking a big hit, but was able to return. Wilson was not on the injury report Wednesday and said he is fine. He practiced fully.
“They feel good,” Wilson said of his ribs. “I took one [big hit] but they’re getting me right in the training room.”