Florham Park, NJ – Two days later it was hinted at Zach Wilson He may play in the season opener, the New York Jets announced Wednesday that the sophomore quarterback will miss at least three games while he continues to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery.
Jets coach Robert Saleh said Wilson wouldn’t play until week four “at the earliest” — a road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This means that the planes will open the season with Joe Flacco in quarterback, starting Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Baltimore Ravens—the team that drafted them in 2008.
“We’re going to make sure that mind and body are at 110 per cent and make sure we do it right,” Saleh said of Wilson, the second overall pick in 2021. This week it will be in Pittsburgh.
Wilson suffered a meniscus tear and a bone bruise in a non-contact game against the Philadelphia Eagles in a pre-season game on August 12. Four days later, he underwent surgery the team described as a simple “trim” of his meniscus.
Commenting for the first time since the injury, Wilson said: “Since the injury, I am very optimistic that I can come back and still play football the way I want to this year.”
Sources described him with a two- to four-week timeline for his return, though the team has never announced this. Team Officials were vague, saying Wilson wouldn’t play until he was 100 percent. All indications are that Flacco started the first or second half, then Saleh added a wrinkle on Monday by saying it was “possible” for Wilson to start against the Ravens.
This was never a serious choice. It was likely an attempt to play games, although Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he wasn’t surprised to hear that Flacco was starting.
Wilson said he knew from the moment he “walked out of surgery” that he would miss the first three games. He later backtracked, saying he didn’t have a set schedule. He did not experience a setback, according to Saleh, who said that the bone bruise is larger than the meniscus.
“There is always this hope,” Saleh said, explaining his remarks on Monday. He said doctors and team officials decided late Tuesday night that “it wasn’t worth the risk.”
“There is the knee component, there is the mind component, there is the practice component,” Saleh said. “There are a lot of things other than the knee.”
Wilson missed 14 exercises and two pre-season games. He injured the same knee last season, which cost him four games. Saleh insisted the midfielder is not prone to injury, calling it “bad luck”. Wilson said he’s not worried about the knee’s long-term stability.
“I actually feel like I’m in a great place,” he said. “I feel really confident where I am, with the rehab they’ve been through.”
Wilson said he is able to back out and throw, but he hasn’t run yet. The Jets could have put Wilson in an injured reserve for a while, which would have kept him out for four games, but they chose that option because they want him to be able to train while he recovers. He won’t be training this week.
This is a blow to the Jets, who, after a 4-13 season, generated a lot of optimism after an unproductive season. They turn to Flacco, the oldest player on the team at the age of 37.
“Hey, yeah, man,” Saleh said. “Great atmosphere.” “He’s been preparing. He’s amazing. I’m excited for him and his chance. Even at 37, I know in the back of his head he gets a chance to play Baltimore.”
Flacco has lost seven goals in a row (the last five with the Jets) and hasn’t started the inaugural season since 2019 with the Denver Broncos. This match will likely have special meaning as it will face the team that played the quarterback in the Super Bowl after the 2012 season. It was replaced late in the 2018 season by the current Ravens, Lamar Jackson.
This will be Flacco’s first game against the Ravens, who traded him with Denver in 2019.
“It kind of changed us in a lot of ways in terms of what kind of team we were,” Harbow said. “We’ve been throwing the ball a little bit and had a lot of success with that. That’s kind of immeasurable, really.”
Flacco downplayed the importance of encountering crows, but admitted, “Obviously there will be some different emotions that I’ve never experienced with these emotions.”
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