Ellis says he won't miss AFC title game

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By Arthur Staple

Newsday

(MCT)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Shaun Ellis has waited through an entire decade without much success as a Jet. So a little thing like a broken left hand won't keep him from his first AFC Championship Game.

Ellis broke his hand on the first play of the game Sunday against the Chargers, but came out for only a brief period to have the hand "clubbed up," as he put it — wrapped in a cast and black medical tape so heavily wrapped that he looked like a jai-alai player — and that's exactly what he'll do for Sunday's AFC title game against the Colts in Indianapolis.

"It's one of those things where I will have to have surgery on it, have some screws put in," Ellis said Monday. "They would've did it (this) week, but the skin wouldn't have healed up in time for me to play. So you just suck it up, cast it up again and go play."

Ellis wasn't as effective as he could have been with the cast on — he had Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in his grasp for a fourth-quarter sack, but the cast on his hand didn't allow Ellis to get a grip on Rivers — but it doesn't actually change too much in the Jets' defensive line rotation.

Mike DeVito usually comes in for Ellis on first and second downs as the game progresses. He came into the game on those downs a bit earlier than usual Sunday and may do so again against the Colts.

DeVito had a fourth-quarter sack of Rivers on Sunday.

"I just had to fill that role quicker than usual," DeVito said. "I'm not sure what Shaun's status us, but I'll be ready to do whatever they want me to do."

It could have been a much bigger role for Sunday, but Ellis will wait to have surgery on Monday after the Colts game, win or lose. If the Jets win, he'll have enough time to heal before the Super Bowl two weeks later.

Ellis is one of five Jets who were on the 2004 team that came within a field goal of reaching the AFC title game. He doesn't want to miss this opportunity, even if he may have to play one-handed.

"You play this game for two reasons: You play for a ring, and you play for money," Ellis said. "Once you get the money, then you want to get the ring. A lot of people get the money, but not too many get the ring. And that's one of the things that (Rex Ryan) talks about. He said, 'How many people in here have a ring?' And only like two people stood up. And him, of course.

"That's the reality of it. I've been to the playoffs a couple times, came close in that Pittsburgh game to get to this point now, and I haven't been back since. For us to come out and just start talking about it, it makes everybody believe in it."

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