About 40 hours after New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson suffered a knee injury Friday night that is expected to keep him sidelined for two to four weeks, Jets head coach Robert Saleh met with media on Sunday and was asked about the prognosis for the second-year signal caller out of BYU.
With the expected timeframe for return being what it is, naturally a big question is whether or not Wilson will be able to return in time for the Jets’ regular season opener, which is exactly four weeks away on Sept. 11 at home against the Baltimore Ravens.
Saleh said Wilson is on his way to Los Angeles for a procedure on Tuesday (ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday that Wilson suffered a torn meniscus and bone bruise, and that the surgery will be arthroscopic), and there is guarded optimism within the Jets organization that Wilson will be back within the 2-4 week timeframe Schefter reported.
“They’ll know more once they get in there,” Saleh said. “We’re optimistic, but he’s not out of the woods until they get in there and make the decision.”
Saleh later added, “Based on all the information that’s been presented to us, feel good, but again, as I’m learning, you never know,” and he declined to share a confidence level he has for Wilson being available for the opener.
Would Saleh and the organization consciously try to pump the brakes on a potential return for the opener to make sure the recovery process isn’t rushed?
“That’s a fair point,” Saleh said. “That’s a really good question. I think that’s all going to depend on what happens here with the surgery and the feedback we get from the doctors...and gathering all the information before we even come remotely close to making that decision, but that’s all valid and something we’ll all talk about once we get all the information we need.”
Saleh was rather blunt in expressing how bad the timing of the injury is for a quarterback who struggled in his rookie year and needs all the reps he can get.
Saleh particularly bemoaned how Wilson will miss upcoming joint practices with the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons.
“It’s a setback in that he’s missing an unbelievable opportunity to get these reps in, to play other defenses, especially the Giants, who have such an elaborate pressure system,” Saleh said.
“But he’s gotta stay dialed in just like he was last year when he was hurt, learn from his teammates and try to be involved as much mentally as he can possibly be. The timing of it all is terrible and sucks, but I think Zach can still have an opportunity to grow from it if he attacks it mentally.”
Toward the end of the press conference, Saleh was asked if there was any concern within the Jets organization about longterm problems with Wilson’s knee, as he missed some games last season after suffering a similar injury.
“That’s probably more of a question for (doctors),” Saleh said. “I don’t think there’s any concern on our part. He’s still young, but that’s probably more for a doc to answer that question.”