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New York Jets QB Zach Wilson to miss 2-4 weeks with bone bruise, meniscus tear

Zach Wilson, New York Jets
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson was diagnosed with a bone bruise and meniscus tear after exiting Friday’s preseason opener with what many feared was a torn ACL.

Facing the Philadelphia Eagles in the team’s first preseason game, Wilson attempted to make a cut toward the middle of the field, trying to cut past an Eagles’ defensive back. He immediately went down after making the cut and needed help leaving the field.

Immediate speculation regarding the severity of the injury hinted it could be a torn ACL. However, head coach Robert Saleh said after the game that team doctors believed the ACL was intact.

Related: New York Jets schedule

According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, MRI results determined that Wilson is dealing with a meniscus tear and a bone bruise. While he is scheduled to receive a second opinion, the Jets are coming away from Saturday’s test results feeling optimistic.

  • Zach Wilson stats (2021): 2,334 passing yards, 9-11 TD-INT, 69.7 QB rating, 55.6% completion rate

It’s essentially the best-case scenario for New York. The franchise knew after the injury that Wilson would miss time, but the diagnosis means he should be available for a majority of the 2022 NFL season.

When will Zach Wilson return?

NFL: New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Wilson is slated to undergo arthroscopic surgery to address the torn meniscus. Fortunately, per Costello, the meniscus will only need a trim for him to rehabilitate the knee injury as opposed to a full repair of the ligament.

New York isn’t entirely in the clear just yet. When the Jets’ franchise quarterback is undergoing the procedure, doctors will fully examine ligaments in the knee to determine if there is any additional damage that needs to be repaired.

Tentatively, the team is expecting Wilson to miss at least two weeks with a possibility that he is sidelined for a month. If he recovers quickly, there’s an outside chance Wilson could start the regular-season opener in Week 1 against the Baltimore Ravens.

Of course, there remains a likelihood that the Jets exercise caution with their second-year quarterback. If the team takes a long-term approach, it could keep Wilson sidelined until late in September for a potential Week 3 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Who will be the New York Jets starting quarterback?

NFL: New York Jets at Buffalo Bills
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Immediately after the injury, rumors swirled that New York could suddenly become a suitor for Jimmy Garoppolo. With the Jets’ coaching staff and front office potentially on the hot seat in 2022, Garoppolo would provide a viable starting quarterback who could help the team stay afloat this year.

However, that is now almost certainly off the table. Garoppolo’s contract makes him far too costly for the Jets to absorb just to start him for a few games. Instead, Joe Flacco will take over as the starting quarterback and he could draw the start in Week 1 against his former team.

Based on the severity of the injury, it’s likely that New York heads into the regular season with third-string quarterback Mike White on the roster as an insurance plan behind Wilson and Flacco.