ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (ABC4 Sports) – Two days after hinting that former BYU star quarterback Zach Wilson could play in their season opener, the New York Jets announced Wednesday that the second-year quarterback will miss at least three games as he continues to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery.
“Of course that was the goal,” Wilson said about playing week one. “If it was up to me, I’d still try to play right now. But listening to my doctors and whatever clearances they can give me, kind of go week by week, staying in touch with them, that’s what I’m going to go off of. It’s frustrating of course.”
Jets coach Robert Saleh said Wilson won’t play until Week 4 “at the earliest” — a road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This means the Jets will open the season with Joe Flacco at quarterback, starting Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Baltimore Ravens — the team that drafted him in 2008.
“We’re going to make sure mind and body are 110 percent and make sure we do right by him,” Saleh said of Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in 2021. “We feel like, from talking to the doctors and everyone, it’s going to be that Pittsburgh week.”
Wilson suffered a meniscus tear and bone bruise on a noncontact play against the Philadelphia Eagles in an Aug. 12 preseason game. Four days later, he underwent the surgical procedure, described by the team as a minor “trim” to the meniscus.
“For what the injury was, I’m very optimistic to be able to get back and still play football the way I want to this year,” Wilson said, commenting for the first time since the injury. “You want to be healthy as much as possible. When the injury happened I was pissed at myself, preseason game, all that kind of stuff. You’ve got to be able to stay healthy, so it’s frustrating, but you got to do what you can.”
Wilson said he knew from the moment he “walked out of surgery” that he’d miss the first three games. He later backtracked, saying he never had an exact timetable. He hasn’t suffered a setback, according to Saleh, who said the bone bruise is a bigger issue than the meniscus.
Explaining his comments from Monday, Saleh said: “There’s always that hope.” He said doctors and team officials decided late Tuesday night “it’s not worth the risk.”
“There’s the knee element, there’s the mind element, there’s the practice element,” Saleh said. “There are a whole lot of things other than the knee.”
“It kind of is what it is and you kind of have to go by what they say,” Wilson said. “I just have to go in the training room and approach everyday like I can just get better and I feel like I’m in a good spot and I’m happy with where I am.”
Wilson has missed 14 practices and two preseason games. He sprained the same knee last season, costing him four games. Saleh insisted his quarterback isn’t injury prone, calling it “bad luck.” Wilson said he’s not concerned about the long-term stability of the knee.