As Chad Pennington trudged to the sideline after injuring his left wrist, Jets coach Herman Edwards could not bear to look at his starting quarterback.
``It was too hard for me at that point,'' Edwards said.
It won't get any easier.
Pennington dislocated and fractured his left wrist in the Jets' 15-14 victory over the New York Giants on Saturday night and is out indefinitely, putting Vinny Testaverde behind center again.
Pennington was tackled from behind by Brandon Short and landed awkwardly on the wrist after throwing away a pass with just under two minutes remaining in the first half.
He had X-rays at Giants Stadium, which revealed the fracture-dislocation, and was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York for immediate surgery. The Jets do not know how long their starting quarterback will be out, and said Pennington's status would be determined after surgery.
``I thought when he came over to the sideline, you could kind of tell it was bad,'' Edwards said.
This is the second time in as many weeks a starting quarterback was injured in an exhibition game. Last week, Falcons starter Michael Vick broke his right leg against Baltimore and is expected to be out at least six weeks.
Short said he ran a blitz on the play.
``I came up the middle untouched,'' Short said. ``Chad rolled to his right. I must have grabbed his legs right as he threw the ball, and he fell down on his arms and was just lying there.
``I asked him if he was all right, and he just kept lying there until the trainers came out. It's unfortunate to see someone go down like that.''
To make matters worse, third-string quarterback Brooks Bollinger sprained his left knee. Edwards did not know the severity of the injury, but said the Jets may look for another quarterback.
Testaverde, who turns 40 in November, now takes the reigns again. The 17-year veteran began last season as the starter but lost his job to Pennington after the Jets started 1-3.
Pennington then engineered a tremendous turnaround for the Jets, who ended up winning the AFC East and finishing the regular season 9-7. He led the NFL with a 104.2 passer rating and 68.9 completion percentage, and went 275-of-399 for 3,120 yards with 22 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Against the Giants, Pennington was 4-of-12 for 58 yards before getting hurt.
Testaverde, meanwhile, saw limited time in the preseason before Pennington's injury. In the first three games, he played one series and went 1-of-3 for 8 yards and an interception.
He saw his first extended action Saturday and finished 5-of-11 for 48 yards.
``I feel I'll be ready to go full speed to get where I need to be to help the team win football games,'' Testaverde said. ``It's not like I need to prove to everybody that I need to continue to be the player I was. I have to try to be the best that I can be.''
Two weeks ago, Edwards said he wanted to figure out a way to get Testaverde to 40,000 yards passing. Testaverde is 442 yards away from the mark, which only eight others have reached.
``As players, you deal with injuries and you go from there,'' Testaverde said. ``When it's the quarterback position, it seems like a bigger deal.''
Jets receivers refused comment, saying they were under orders from Edwards not to talk. But cornerback Ray Mickens said the team would be fine with Testaverde.
``Vinny has been around for a long time,'' Mickens said. ``He's a guy we're lucky to have. We're not concerned about things that we can't control. We just have to go forward.''
Even though they lost, the Giants (0-3) finally got their offense going.
Kerry Collins guided a 21-play, 95-yard drive that ate up 9:58 of the first quarter and culminated when he threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Visanthe Shiancoe on fourth-and-goal.
On their next possession, Collins threw an 88-yard touchdown pass to Ike Hilliard to make it 14-0. Hilliard caught seven passes for 150 yards, while Collins finished 13-of-23 for 198 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
But all the talk afterward was about Pennington.
``It doesn't sound too good,'' Collins said. ``I hope he comes back healthy and that he'll be back playing good football. You hate to see it happen in preseason.''
Doug Brien kicked three field goals for the Jets (2-2), and they took the lead in the fourth quarter when Chad Brinker scored on a 2-yard run. That did not seem to matter in the end.
``We'll have to step it up,'' Edwards said. ``Every player is going to have to do that, and every coach is going to have to do that.
``You hate to see a guy like that have an injury like that. Every time you go out there, I always tell the players, 'You never know when it's going to be your last play.''