WATCH: How Quincy Enunwa's absence impacts Jets' offense
Prior to Sunday's season opener against the Buffalo Bills, Quincy Enunwa hadn't played in an NFL game since Dec. 9, 2018. The mere fact that the 27-year-old was poised to take on a full workload to start the season was a testament to how diligently he attacked his offseason rehab.
His problematic ankle, which limited him to just 11 games last season, was ready for game action.
The comeback was all but complete.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound wideout briefly exited Sunday's game in the first quarter, however, before eventually returning to the closely contested divisional tilt.
His return was marred by a Buffalo comeback, as the Jets let a 16 point lead gradually slip away in the second half. Enunwa finished with just one reception -- for -4 yards.
In the hours that followed, Enunwa experienced a familiar, distinctive pain, and was sent for testing. The tests revealed what Enunwa had feared: he'd suffered another debilitating neck injury.
The sixth-year pro already knew the routine, after all, he'd missed the entire 2017 season with the same injury. On Wednesday, the Jets announced that Enunwa's season was over.
His comeback, for all intents and purposes, had effectively been derailed.
Aware of the severity of Enunwa's injury, the Jets made a move to acquire veteran wide receiver Demaryius Thomas from the New England Patriots for a 2021 sixth-round pick.
The longtime Denver Bronco reunites with Jets head coach Adam Gase, who served as the Broncos' receivers coach from 2009-12 and offensive coordinator from 2013-14.
While Thomas comes to Florham Park with an extensive resume and plenty of accolades, it will be hard to fill the void created by Enunwa's extended absence.
The Nebraska alum spent a large portion of the summer moving around formations, as something of a hybrid tight end. One of the league's better young possession receivers when healthy, Enunwa's forte is coming down with contested catches between the hash marks, blocking in the running game and working back to his quarterbacks, finding openings to sustain drives.
With Robby Anderson as the de-facto number one option in the Jets' passing attack and Jamison Crowder as the intermediary threat out of the slot, Thomas is expected to assume the number two role -- as early as Monday night.