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 understand. He tore the ACL in his left knee in 2020 at MetLife Stadium while a member of the 49ers in a game against the Jets. Shepard’s injury has brought greater scrutiny to the turf at MetLife Stadium and turf fields in general. Thomas thinks it’s time for the NFL to do something about it.
“I believe in the NFL we shouldn’t have grass pitches,” Thomas told the Post. “I think we should have grass pitches like the Premier League in England. The risk of non-contact injury is significantly higher on grass pitches. … I think as players we should be better protected.
Thomas tore his ACL in a horrific game for the 49ers in 2020. They lost rusher Nick Bosa in the same game to a torn ACL and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered an ankle injury. Thomas said his foot got stuck in the turf when he was blocked and he didn’t give in when his knee twisted. He blew his knee and was lost for the season.
“There will be injuries regardless in football, but on grass they will be bigger and they will be at a higher rate without contact. [situations]”, Thomas said. “In this sport we have enough contact injuries, so we should eliminate as many non-contact injuries as possible. That’s my belief on that. made up entirely of grass pitches. Until we get there, we will keep fighting for it.
MetLife Stadium’s turf was installed ahead of the 2020 season. Thomas said he’s heard players say the pitch was worse before the new turf, but he still thinks there’s a problem.
“It’s a bit better now, but injuries still happen at a high rate on this court,” Thomas said.
LB Quincy Williams (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday and is expected to be out for a few weeks with a sprained ankle. CB Brandin Echols (hamstring) and DE John Franklin-Myers (toe) were both limited in practice.
Rookie WR Garrett Wilson left the game on Sunday with a rib injury after taking a big hit, but was able to come back. Wilson was not on the injury report Wednesday and said he was fine. He trained thoroughly.
“They feel great,” Wilson said of his ribs. “I took one [big hit] but they place me directly in the training room.