How long is Zach Wilson out? Injury timeline, return date, updates for Jets QB

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The Jets suffered through a potentially nightmarish scenario on Friday when former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson came up limping with a non-contact injury to his knee.

The injury occurred as the second-year quarterback attempted to sidestep an impending tackle by Eagles linebacker Nakobe Dean. Though Wilson avoided the hit, it was obvious he tweaked his knee in what ultimately resulted in a 7-yard gain.

Zach Wilson comes up limping after an awkward cut while scrambling. #Jets pic.twitter.com/YkOYZ5sL6f

— Mike Giardi (@MikeGiardi) August 13, 2022

The Jets immediately took their quarterback out of the game and into the locker room, where he underwent evaluation. He was later seen walking on the sidelines without a brace, albeit gingerly.

MORE: Zach Wilson injury update: Jets QB suffers non-contact knee injury but team optimistic he won't miss much time

It was later reported that Wilson will miss some time due to the injury, though there is a bit of good news as to exactly how long he will be out. The Sporting News has everything you need to know about Wilson's injury, including timeline for recovery, updates and who the Jets will turn to while he heals.

What is Zach Wilson's injury?

Both Adam Schefter of ESPN and Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported on Saturday that Wilson has a bone bruise. However, their respective sources have reported different information in regard to a potential meniscus tear.

Schefter reported that a tear has already been confirmed, and that Wilson will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery to repair the damage.

Jets’ QB Zach Wilson has a bone bruise and a meniscus tear and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks, as @BrianCoz also reported. Wilson will undergo arthroscopic surgery to address and correct the injury. Jets consider it fortunate news.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 13, 2022

Howe's source, however, did not confirm a tear; he later reported that the team is getting more opinions and is deciding whether to perform a scope on Wilson's knee.

After getting more opinions, Wilson and the Jets will determine if he needs a knee scope. Nothing decided yet, per source. https://t.co/lurORl9AdE

— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) August 13, 2022

The question now is exactly how much time Wilson will miss. Regardless, the fact he avoided any ligament tears or breaks — such as the one that will cause tackle Mekhi Becton to miss the entire season — is good news for the Jets.

MORE: Jets' Robert Saleh, Eagles' Nick Sirianni react to late hit on Jalen Hurts: 'Egregiously awful,' Saleh says

How long will Zach Wilson be out?

Per Schefter, the initial belief by the Jets is that Wilson will miss 2-4 weeks. That would mean he's out for the remainder of the preseason, and potentially New York's Week 1 opener vs. Baltimore.

Schefter later reported that further inspection by doctors could reveal the meniscus tear to be worse than thought, resulting in a longer recovery period.

Doctors also could find during surgery that Zach Wilson’s meniscus is worse than they thought and he could be sidelong longer. But for now, Jets feel fortunate and doctors are encouraged. https://t.co/OMv6Jpxhko

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 13, 2022

Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network corroborated Schefter's reporting, saying it's more likely the Jets keep Wilson out four weeks, placing into question whether he will be ready for the Week 1 game.

More from our @NFLTotalAccess pregame show on #Jets QB Zach Wilson’s knee and the possibility the timeline for his return could be extended. @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/qVNge0xU3F

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 13, 2022

Jets QB depth chart

If Wilson is unable to play in the Jets' season-opener, then New York likely will turn to veteran Joe Flacco to take on his former team.

Flacco has been on the Jets' roster since 2020, playing in a combined seven games in two seasons. He has gone 0-5 as a starter, completing 101 of 176 passes (57.4 percent) for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns to three interceptions.

Another option is Mike White, a 2018 fifth-round pick who played at South Florida and Western Kentucky. Mostly a practice squad member for the Cowboys and later the Jets, White did not play in his first game until 2021, when he filled in for Wilson as he missed time with a PCL injury. He played in four games and went 1-2 as a starter, completing 88 of 132 passes for 953 yards and five touchdowns to eight interceptions.

Chris Streveler, a CFL standout and the Jets' current fourth-stringer, would likely be moved to third string in the event Wilson misses significant time.

Rank Player
1 Zach Wilson
2 Joe Flacco
3 Mike White
4 Chris Streveler

MORE: Robert Saleh reacts to Mekhi Becton's knee injury, bemoans 'dehumanization' of athletes on social media after criticism

Zach Wilson injury history

This isn't the first time Wilson has suffered a knee injury. He also missed four weeks in 2021 after taking a hit by Patriots linebacker Matthew Judon in the Jets' Week 7 loss to New England. He was confirmed to have a PCL sprain.

The injury occurred to his right knee, the same one he injured in Friday's preseason game.

Zach Wilson injury updates

Friday, Aug. 12: Wilson exits the Jets' Week 1 preseason game vs. the Eagles with a non-contact injury to his right knee. He is removed from the game.

Jets coach Robert Saleh after the game says Wilson's ACL is "supposed to be intact," suggesting any injury he sustained is not to that ligament; he later says an MRI on Saturday will determine what the injury is.

Dianna Russini of ESPN reports that the initial fear is Wilson suffered another PCL injury to his right knee.

Saturday, Aug. 13: MRI reveals Wilson has avoided any ligament tears or further damage to his PCL. Instead, he is diagnosed with a bone bruise and meniscus tear. The Jets reportedly are considering whether to undergo a scope on Wilson's knee, though initial timelines suggest a return early in the season.

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