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Zach Wilson Will Be Jets' Week 1 Starter If Healthy After Knee Injury, Saleh Says

Adam WellsAugust 18, 2022

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The New York Jets aren't shutting the door on Zach Wilson being able to play in the regular-season opener on Sept. 11 after he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday.

Head coach Robert Saleh told reporters Thursday that Wilson will be the starter if he "is ready to play" in Week 1.

"We're going to take it by how Zach looks, how he feels, how he moves, what the doctors tell us," added Saleh. "Whenever that moment is, he'll step on the field."

ESPN's Rich Cimini reported earlier this week Wilson's surgery, which required a "trim" of his torn meniscus, was deemed a success and carried an initial recovery time between two to four weeks.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noted after Wilson's procedure that Week 1 is still "in play," but the Jets want to make sure the second-year quarterback is 100 percent before putting him back on the field.

Wilson was injured in the first quarter of New York's 24-21 preseason win over the Philadelphia Eagles last Friday. He dropped back to pass but was flushed out of the pocket and scrambled for a seven-yard gain when his knee buckled.

Mike White took over for Wilson, leading the offense 43 yards in 10 plays before they settled for a field goal.

Based on the estimated recovery timeline for Wilson, it would be nearly four weeks from the date of his surgery to the first game of the regular season. The 23-year-old missed four games last season with a sprained PCL in the same knee he injured last week.

If Wilson can't play, Joe Flacco will likely be the Jets' starting quarterback. He has started five games for the team over the past two seasons, including a Week 11 loss to the Miami Dolphins in 2021.

Wilson threw for 2,334 yards, nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions with a 55.6 completion percentage in 13 starts last year.

The Jets still have preseason games remaining against the Atlanta Falcons (Monday) and New York Giants (Aug. 28). They will host the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1 of the regular season.

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