NEW YORK (AP) — Zach Wilson will be back on the practice field this week for the New York Jets. Whether the rookie quarterback returns to the huddle Sunday will be no knee-jerk decision.
Wilson has missed two games with a sprained posterior collateral ligament in his right knee, leaving backup Mike White to start in his place.
Coach Robert Saleh said Monday the team will decide by Wednesday's practice who will start the home game Sunday against Buffalo.
That way, the starter can get all of the snaps with the first-team offense during preparations. And while there's a possibility it could be Wilson, it appears likely White will get a third start.
“We’ll see how he is,” Saleh said of Wilson. “We’ll see how it looks, but we’re not in any hurry to rush him back because of the fact that this is a two-to-four-week injury. He’s going into Week 3 and there are a couple of hurdles that he has to pass yet.”
The Jets don't want to take any unnecessary risks with the No. 2 overall pick, who remains the future of the franchise in the team's eyes despite his early season struggles and White's brief success as his fill-in.
Saleh acknowledged the Jets were taking a conservative approach and said the team was "waiting for more updates” on Wilson's knee leading up to the first practice of the week.
“If he’s not fully healthy,” Saleh said, "it would be irresponsible for us to throw him out there.”
But the coach didn't hesitate when asked if Wilson will be the starter Sunday if he passes all the medical tests.
“Yeah, if he's fully healthy, for sure,” Saleh said.
That would appear to end the speculation as to whether the rookie might have to sit behind White even when his knee was healed. But when pressed whether a healthy Wilson would indeed be the starter, regardless of how White plays, Saleh was a bit more evasive when dealing in the hypothetical.
"Can we go day to day on this one?” he said with a smile. “We’ll see.”
Saleh then praised the “heck of a job” White has done, going from never having thrown a pass in a regular-season game to becoming the talk of the league last week.
“Does it mean anything for the future? I don't know," Saleh said. “I just know that as it goes day to day and game to game, I just think it's really cool Mike's been able to take advantage of this opportunity and lets just see how he does.”
In White's first NFL start against Cincinnati on Oct. 31, he threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns in New York's 34-31 victory. He was selected the AFC offensive player of the week and his jersey and game ball were sent for display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, after he set the NFL record for completions in a first start with 37.
White started again at Indianapolis last Thursday night, but suffered a bruised nerve in his throwing hand in the first quarter — causing numbness in two of his fingers. He was replaced by veteran Josh Johnson in the Jets' 45-30 loss. White felt better by the end of the game and should be 100% for practice this week.
“One of the great things of this league is you do have these guys who sometimes come out of nowhere and they get their opportunity and showcase who they are and they show that they belong,” Saleh said. “So I've got a great appreciation for what Mike is going through. And I have a lot of respect for his opportunity.”
NOTES: Saleh said RB Tevin Coleman (hamstring) and WR Corey Davis (hip) are on track to practice this week and possibly play against the Bills. Coleman has missed the past three games, while Davis sat out the past two. ... The Jets waived veteran P Thomas Morstead, clearing the way for Braden Mann to return from a sprained left knee. The 35-year-old Morstead was solid filling in for Mann, averaging 48.2 yards on punts and dropping seven kicks inside the opponent's 20-yard line in seven games. “My time with the Jets has been nothing short of excellent,” Morstead wrote in a post on Twitter. “From the start, I understood this to be an opportunity to fill in for a very talented Braden Mann. Jets fans should be excited about his future and the future of the team and organization.” He added that the Jets' communication and expectations were “crystal clear,” and he thanked the team.
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