FLORHAM PARK, NJ — The New York Jets can expire.
Strategist Zach WilsonTuesday’s arthroscopic knee surgery was considered a success, with no surprises to the initial diagnosis, sources told ESPN.
Wilson was diagnosed with a torn meniscus and a bone bruise after a non-contact injury last Friday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, with sources initially saying the recovery would be two to four weeks. There was no updated schedule, but the Jets avoided the nightmare scenario — a season-ending injury to their sophomore quarterback.
The meniscus only needed “trimming,” a source said — just as the Jets expected. They were optimistic about the extent of the damage, but held back on any definitive statement until the arthroscopy, which was performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
The Jets are about to start Joe Flacco during the season opener against Baltimore Ravensthe team he led to the Super Bowl title after the 2012 season.
The Jets don’t want to rush Wilson to the field, with sources pointing out they won’t play him until he’s at 100%. That he injured the same knee last season – a PCL sprain that cost him four games – is a factor. He’ll likely take at least two weeks of training before he’s cleared to play, so the schedule is working against him when it comes to opening day.
Wilson, drafted second overall in 2021, fell in the second set of the preseason opener. Coming out of the pocket, he tried to gain extra yards instead of going out of bounds. When he made a cut inside, his knee buckled and he plunged into the grass. He left the game immediately. The next day, the MRI revealed the bone bruise and meniscus tear. Wilson opted for a second opinion and flew to Los Angeles.
In other injury news, the Jets placed the right tackle Mekhi Becton (fractured kneecap) on the injured list, ending his season. To replace him, they signed left tackle Duan Brown and moved george fant at right tackle.
The Jets have centered their entire offseason around Wilson, adding players around him, so a season-ending injury would have been a devastating blow. Still, coach Robert Saleh called it “a setback in that he misses an incredible opportunity to get reps, to play other defences.”
Wilson will miss preseason games against the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants. The Jets also have joint practices against those teams, which Saleh says is invaluable.
Flacco, 37, has looked sharp in training for the past three days but hasn’t had much success as a starter lately. He has not won a start since 2019 (with the Denver Broncos) and has lost 14 of his last 16, dating back to 2018 — his last season with the Ravens. Saleh said he had faith in Flacco and Mike Whitewhich rises to the second string.
“It’s heartwarming and I’m going to give Mike White a shout too,” Saleh said. “I think we have three starting quarterbacks. Joe has proven throughout his time that he’s a winner. I know his record here hasn’t been that good. I think he’s 0-5 or something like that… (but) he was effective. Even in our game in Miami last year, he was very effective. We have all the faith in the world in him to get the job done.