FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — A bye-week break wasn’t enough to get Matt Forte back on the field.

The New York Jets running back remained sidelined Wednesday with an ailing knee and is uncertain to play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

Forte, who turns 32 on Dec. 10, missed the Jets’ last game at Tampa Bay on Nov. 12 with swelling in his surgically repaired right knee. In his absence, Bilal Powell ran for 30 yards on 10 carries and rookie Elijah McGuire had 22 yards on eight attempts.

“You’re concerned about it, but we have to play the guys we’ve got,” coach Todd Bowles said. “When he comes out and he’s ready, he’ll be ready to go. But until then, Bilal and Eli will pick up most of his plays.”

Forte ran for a season-best 77 yards against Buffalo on Nov. 2, but recently said he has been dealing with swelling in the knee for “a while” and it worsened. He added that his season-high 14 carries in the win over the Bills didn’t exacerbate the situation.

Forte had arthroscopic surgery on the knee at the end of last season to repair a torn meniscus. He missed two games earlier this season with turf toe.

He ranks third on the Jets in rushing with 241 yards on 57 carries and is fourth in receptions with 29.

Meanwhile, left tackle Kelvin Beachum was excused from practice for the birth of his second child, Kelvin III. Bowles expected Beachum to return to the field on Thursday.

Cornerback Rashard Robinson (illness) also sat out, while cornerback Morris Claiborne (foot), safety Rontez Miles (ankle), defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (foot) and right guard Brian Winters (abdomen) were limited.

Claiborne missed the Jets’ game against Buffalo with a sprained foot, but returned to play at Tampa — before aggravating the injury during the loss to the Buccaneers.

“He’s getting better,” Bowles said. “If he has a couple more good days without any pain, he’s got a chance (to play).”

NOTES: Rookie CB Jeremy Clark, a sixth-round draft pick out of Michigan, was able to practice for the first time this season, but remains of the reserve/non-football injury list. Clark injured a knee last year with the Wolverines. … DE Muhammad Wilkerson had his No. 91 high school jersey retired by Linden High School in New Jersey.


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DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
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