New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson is closing in on his return, with doctors reportedly expected to clear him to start more than a month after suffering a meniscus tear and bone bruise.
The second-year quarterback suffered the injury on Aug. 12, leaving the field after hurting his knee on a non-contact play. Many in New York immediately feared the worst, anticipating that an MRI would reveal a season-ending ACL tear.
- Zach Wilson stats (2021): 56% completion, 2,334 yards, 9 TD, 11 INT, 69.7 QB rating
Fortunately for New York, the injury wasn’t as bad as feared. He was diagnosed with a meniscus tear and a bone bruise, undergoing surgery a few days later. While the procedure on his knee was relatively minor, the Jets quickly ruled him out for Week 1 and then made it clear he’d miss several games on the NFL schedule.
The No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft won’t be on the field Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. However, his return to the starting lineup could be right around the corner.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Wilson is making continued progress in his return from a knee injury. Doctors are expected to clear him early next week, clearing him to return and start in Week 4 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Related: New York Jets schedule
The Jets always approached Wilson’s injury with caution, not wanting to rush him back from a bone bruise that can significantly impact a quarterback’s athleticism and movement. By taking a conservative approach, the organization now feels confident that its face of the franchise can return without any limitations.
Setting expectations for Zach Wilson in Week 4
The focus heading into Week 4 will certainly be on the NFL injury report, providing insight into Wilson’s participation in practice. However, reports indicating on Sunday that he is already expected to play are a positive sign.
A matchup against Pittsburgh looks more favorable than it did a few weeks ago. With T.J. Watt out of the lineup, the Steelers pass rush is significantly weakened. It’s important for Wilson, who was one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL when pressured last season.
New York can also feel more optimistic regarding the state of its offense. Garrett Wilson is showing the traits of a No. 1 receiver and the complementary weapons in this passing game are playing their roles nicely. It’s all helped offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s offense look much smoother out of the gate.
It also reduces the potential excuses if Wilson struggles. New York surrounded its young quarterback with a better supporting cast. If he plays well, the franchise can keep building around him. If he struggles, there will be plenty of options available in the 2023 NFL Draft.