Asked Friday whether the team fears Watkins' left foot soreness -- stemming from an offseason surgery to repair a broken bone -- could be long term, coach Rex Ryan said, "I don't know if fear is the right word, but major concern."
Watkins did not play in Sunday's win against the Arizona Cardinals, and he did not participate in practice this week.
"I don't mind doing this every week," Ryan said Friday of keeping open the possibility for Watkins to play. "If Sammy can play, then obviously we want him out there. But if this is something that is hurting this young man in any way, shape or form, then absolutely I don't want him out there."
Watkins has not been available in the locker room or spoken to reporters since Sept. 19, when he said his foot injury was "kind of out of the window," adding, "I know what I'm dealing with; the team knows what I'm dealing with. It's up to me to go out there and play."
Ryan previously said Watkins might have aggravated his surgically repaired foot when he was stepped on during a walk-through practice last week.
Watkins, the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft, has six catches for 63 yards this season.