New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson's right knee surgery deemed a success, sources say

August 16, 2022, 3:39 PM

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets can exhale.

Quarterback Zach Wilson's arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday was deemed a success, with no surprises from the original diagnosis, sources told ESPN.

Wilson was diagnosed with meniscus tear and a bone bruise after a non-contact injury last Friday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, with sources initially saying the recovery would be two to four weeks. There was no updated timetable, but the Jets avoided the nightmare scenario -- a season-ending injury to their second-year quarterback.

The meniscus required only a "trim," one source said -- as the Jets expected. They were optimistic that was the extent of the damage, but they refrained from any definitive statements until the arthroscopy, which was performed in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

The Jets are poised to start Joe Flacco in the season opener against the Baltimore Ravens, the team he led to the Super Bowl title after the 2012 season.

The Jets don't want to rush Wilson back on the field, with sources emphasizing they won't play him until he's 100 percent. That he injured the same knee last season -- suffering a sprained PCL that cost him four games -- is a factor. He probably will take at least two weeks of practice before he's cleared to play, so the calendar is working against him with regard to opening day.

Wilson, drafted second overall in 2021, went down on the second series of the preseason opener. Scrambling out of the pocket, he tried to gain extra yards instead of running out of bounds. When he made a cut to the inside, his knee buckled and he took a dive to the grass. He left the game immediately. The next day, the MRI revealed the bone bruise and meniscus tear. Wilson opted for a second opinion and traveled to Los Angeles.

In other injury news, the Jets placed right tackle Mekhi Becton (fractured knee cap) on injured reserve, ending his season. To replace him, they signed left tackle Duane Brown and moved George Fant to right tackle.

The Jets geared their entire offseason around Wilson, adding players around him, so a season-ending injury would've been a devastating blow. Still, coach Robert Saleh called it "a setback in that he's missing an unbelievable opportunity to get reps in, to play other defenses."

Wilson will miss preseason games against the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants. The Jets also are having joint practices against those teams, which Saleh believes are invaluable.

Flacco, 37, has looked sharp in practice the last three days, but he hasn't had much recent success as a starter. He hasn't won a start since 2019 (with the Denver Broncos) and has lost 14 of his last 16, dating to 2018 -- his final season with the Ravens. Saleh said he's confident in Flacco and Mike White, who moves up to second-string.

"It is comforting and I'll shout out Mike White too," Saleh said. "I think we've got three starting quarterbacks. Joe has proven throughout his time that he's a winner. I know his record here hasn't been that great. I think he's 0-5 or something like that ... [but] he's been efficient. Even in our Miami game last year that he started, he was very efficient. We have all the confidence in the world in him to get the job done."