Jets' Forte practices fully, 'no doubt' he'll play in opener

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Matt Forte's hamstring is feeling healthy and he's ready for some game action.

The New York Jets running back practiced fully on Tuesday for the first time in more than three weeks and insists he'll be ready to play in the regular-season opener.

''No doubt,'' said Forte, who was sidelined since July 31 with a hamstring injury that limited him to only individual drills the last several days.

The Jets' projected starter at running back ran without any issues in practice Tuesday.

''It felt good to finally be out there, and be more than just a jog-through,'' Forte said. ''I hate having to watch through camp. But with an injury, you've got to do that.''

The 31-year-old Forte said he would like to play in the preseason game against the Giants on Saturday night. Typically, starting players see significant playing time in the third preseason game and then sit out the fourth. So, the matchup against the Giants could be Forte's last chance to see game action until the opener on Sept. 10 at Buffalo.

''That's my goal,'' Forte said. ''I don't know what the coaches' plan is, but that's my plan.''

Coach Todd Bowles remained cautious about Forte's prospects of playing this weekend.

''He ran fast, so he looked healthier,'' Bowles said. ''We'll see how he's feeling (Wednesday).''

Forte missed most of training camp last summer when he hurt the same hamstring and returned too soon. He aggravated the injury and needed a few more weeks to fully heal.

Forte revealed that he needed a platelet rich plasma injection last year because there was actually a tear in his hamstring. This injury, he said, was not as severe.

''There was no tear in it. It was just a strain,'' he said. ''It took about the same amount of time to actually heal up.''

Still, Forte didn't anticipate being sidelined as long as he was this summer.

''It just took longer than I expected to heal,'' he said. ''To get back to full speed, it took a couple weeks, which I wasn't expecting. You can't predict that type of stuff.''

Forte had a career-low 813 yards rushing last season, his first with the Jets, but got off to a solid start. He rushed for 261 yards in the first three games, but a torn meniscus in his right knee diminished his production as the season went along.

This year, he's expected to anchor the Jets' running game with Bilal Powell and rookie Elijah McGuire behind him. But Forte is working in a new offensive system under coordinator John Morton, and the Jets have a revamped group of blocker in front of him.

''It sets you back with getting accustomed to your offensive line,'' Forte said. ''Also, conditioning-wise, it's not the same without being able to run and run full speed.''

The Jets have missed Forte's presence in the preseason, where they have rushed for just 141 yards on 54 carries - a dismal 2.6 yards per carry.

In other injuries: linebackers Darron Lee (illness) and Lorenzo Mauldin (back) remained out. Cornerback Morris Claiborne sat out with a sore shoulder, while rookie tight end Jordan Leggett was also sidelined with a sore foot. Both injuries occurred last Saturday at Detroit.


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