With the NFL’s Thursday night opener out of the way, attention now turns to the first football Sunday of 2022. The New York Jets begin the season at home but will be without second-year QB Zach Wilson’s services under center. How long will the former BYU QB be out, and who will take his place in the meantime? Let’s look at the latest information regarding Wilson’s knee injury and recovery.
How long is Zach Wilson out?
According to Jets head coach Robert Saleh, Joe Flacco will start under center against the team he won a Super Bowl for, the Baltimore Ravens, in the Jets’ home opener. This season will be Flacco’s third with the Jets. He’s played in seven games over the past two years, and all have been losses. This was not the news New York was hoping for after surrounding Wilson with help on the offense in the offseason.
Saleh is expecting Wilson to be out until Week 4 when the Jets play the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 2021 No. 2 overall pick participated in a workout earlier this week at New York’s Atlantic Health Jet Training Center to assess his status ahead of Week 1.
Saleh told team reporters on Wednesday, “After all the information gathering, it’s just not worth the risk in terms of getting him out there.”
While Saleh seems set on having Wilson return for Week 4, he did not shut down the possibility of an earlier appearance as everything can change. “We are going to make sure that both mind and body are 110% and make sure we do right by him.”
So why is Wilson sidelined until Week 4? The 2021 season was not smooth sailing in New York, and with the flurry of moves made this offseason, Wilson was expected to make a few appearances in the preseason as the Jets figured out the offensive plan. That plan crumbled when Wilson went down with a knee injury in the Jets’ first preseason game on Aug. 12.
The injury proved severe enough that on Aug. 16, Wilson would undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair a bone bruise and torn meniscus. The preseason game was the second time Wilson’s right knee has gotten dinged since entering the NFL. He missed four games during his rookie season when he sprained his PCL in Week 7 against the New England Patriots.
Given that this is Wilson’s second injury on his right knee early in his career, Saleh’s sentiments for making sure his young QB is both physically and mentally ready make sense. New York is counting on the roster improvements to help Wilson improve on a forgetful rookie season, so making sure the hopeful franchise QB is fully prepared to lead the team post-injury is vital. With his recovery progressing the way it has so far, the Jets need to withstand three weeks of Flacco, which Saleh doesn’t seem too worried about.