FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson will have arthroscopic surgery on his injured right knee Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Wilson suffered a bone bruise and torn meniscus during the Jets' second offensive series Friday night in their preseason opener at Philadelphia.
The procedure to repair the meniscus, which will be performed by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache, will determine how long Wilson will be sidelined. Wilson is currently expected to be out two to four weeks based on initial tests, but there's a chance he could be out longer depending on the condition of the knee when ElAttrache operates.
“We're optimistic,” coach Robert Saleh said Sunday after practice. “But he's not out of the woods until they get in there and make the decision.”
Saleh said Wilson was traveling to Los Angeles on Sunday to prepare for the procedure.
“And then,” Saleh said, “we wait.”
It was initially feared that Wilson suffered a serious — and potentially season-ending — injury when he went down as he tried to juke past the Eagles' Nakobe Dean. He appeared to injure his knee when planting — without contact — to cut on Philadelphia’s grass field.
Tests after the game indicated the ACL was intact, and an MRI on Saturday morning revealed the bone bruise and torn meniscus.
“Obviously after the game, you could tell he was a little down. But I think considering what happened, I think we got pretty good news," backup quarterback Joe Flacco said of Wilson. "So I think he’s been in better spirits today.”
There remains a chance Wilson could be play in the season opener against Baltimore on Sept. 11. But the Jets would also want to guard against the second-year quarterback rushing back.
“That’s all going to depend on what happens here with the surgery and the feedback we get from the doctors,” Saleh said, “and gathering all the information before we even come remotely close to making that decision.”
Otherwise, Flacco, who ran the first-team offense Sunday and has had a solid camp, would start in Wilson’s place against his former team — and perhaps beyond.
“When you’re the backup, your emotions are up and down during the course of a game, things like that,” the 37-year-old said. “But yeah, it’s a transition, it’s a difference a little bit. But I think definitely because I’ve had the ability to play so much football that you kind of fall back into sync and get back in rhythm pretty quickly.”
Flacco started one game last season after Wilson was sidelined with a sprained PCL in his right knee. He went 24 of 39 for 291 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 24-17 loss to Miami in Week 11.
“He’s a pro, he’s a veteran,” Saleh said. “He’s been there, he’s done that. He’s a Super Bowl MVP. He’s a world champion. He’s gotten the big contracts. He’s pretty much checked almost every box you can check. He knows how to play the game. He’s very calm. He’s collected.”
BROWN IN TOWN
GM Joe Douglas said offensive tackle Duane Brown was expected to arrive at the team's facility to officially sign with the Jets on Sunday night.
Brown agreed to a two-year deal worth $22 million Thursday, a few days after Mekhi Becton, the expected starter at right tackle, was likely lost for the season with a knee injury.
Saleh confirmed Brown, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, will play left tackle for the Jets. George Fant, initially tabbed as the starter on the left side, will slide to the right side.
Saleh previously raved about Fant's play at left tackle, saying he is “much more comfortable” at that position. But the coach said Sunday that Fant should make a smooth transition to right tackle, which is where he practiced.
“For George, his curse is also a blessing in that he’s extremely versatile, very athletic,” Saleh said. “He’s tremendously talented. And so to give him the opportunity to go play right tackle, obviously he’s a competitor — he just wants a home — but at the same time, he’s the ultimate team guy."
NOTES: Saleh said Becton, who has a small fracture in his right kneecap, is also visiting ElAttrache for a consultation before determining whether he'll have surgery. ... RB Ty Johnson (hamstring) returned to practice. ... CB D.J. Reed (hamstring), S Lamarcus Joyner (illness), DE Vinny Curry (hamstring), CB Brandin Echols (hamstring), OL Conor McDermott (ankle) and OL Chuma Edoga (undisclosed) all sat out.
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