New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow aggravated a rib injury during the week while lifting weights and stretching, the New York Daily News reported.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said Friday the extent of Tebow's injury was not known until Wednesday when a CT scan revealed two fractured ribs. He originally injured the ribs in Week 10 against the Seattle Seahawks. At the time, the Jets said, X-rays were negative.
Tebow was listed as questionable on the team's injury report before Thursday's 49-19 loss to the New England Patriots, but the team did not indicate the ribs were broken.
"He absolutely, 100 percent could've played in that game," Ryan said, according to ESPN.com.
Tebow revealed after the game the he had broken ribs.
He had not missed any practice time and was cleared by doctors to play, according to Ryan.
Third-string quarterback Greg McElroy was not activated for the game.
"We knew he had sore ribs, but I don't think anybody knew the extent of it," Ryan said. "Understand, players can play with cracked ribs. A lot will take (pain-killing) shots to numb it. I absolutely didn't want us to do that."
The Jets released a statement a few hours after Ryan made the comments. The team said that X-rays on Nov. 11 were negative and that Tebow played the following week against the St. Louis Rams, despite feeling soreness.
When the soreness got worse Tuesday, Tebow finally underwent an MRI and CT scan that night, which showed he had two fractures. He was activated after meeting with Ryan and having a pregame evaluation Thursday.
"If we absolutely had to have him, I would've played him," Ryan said. "I'm not a doctor, I'm a human. I felt for him. When the doctors are telling you he can play, when the young man is telling you he can play ... he got reps the entire week. That's why I had him active."
Tebow told Ryan on Wednesday that he wanted to play.
"I had to do a little bit of talking just to dress, but I just want to be there for my teammates in case they needed me in an emergency situation," he said.
Tebow told Ryan he once played a game with a broken collarbone.
He also fractured a rib in last season's playoff loss against the Patriots.
It is not clear how long it will take for Tebow's ribs to fully heal and Ryan would not say if McElroy will be activated for the Jets' next game Dec. 2 against the Arizona Cardinals.