Zach Wilson traveled to Los Angeles and will undergo surgery on his knee Tuesday, according to Jets coach Robert Saleh, who is withholding declarations of a quick recovery.
“They’ll know more when they get in there,” Saleh said. “We’re optimistic but we’re not out of the woods until they get in there and make the decision.”
The optimistic recovery timeline is 2-to-4 weeks after Wilson tore his meniscus in Friday’s preseason opener against the Eagles, the result of a hard cut on his right leg during a scramble.
Although the Jets avoided a worse-case scenario of an ACL tear, the fact that their franchise quarterback is going under the knife is discouraging. Wilson also missed games last season because of a right knee injury.
Regardless of Wilson’s status for the regular season opener against the Ravens on Sept. 11, the 23-year-old is sure to miss the remainder of training camp and preseason, including against the Giants on Aug. 28.
“It’s a setback in that he’s missing an unbelievable opportunity to get these reps in, to play against other defenses, especially the Giants who have such an elaborate pressure package system,” Saleh said. “But he’s got to stay dialed in just like last year when he was hurt, learn from his teammates and try to be involved mentally as much as he can be. The timing of it overall is terrible and it sucks but I think Zach has an opportunity to grow from it if he attacks it mentally.”
The likely scenario is Joe Flacco starting Week 1 against the Ravens, coincidentally the one he led to a Super Bowl victory in 2013.
“Obviously people are going to bring it up to me (playing your former team). And you think about that,” Flacco said. “Usually the emotions are definitely crazy. Guys try to act like they’re cool. I’ve thought about it a little bit. I’m going to make sure it’s not the biggest deal in the world, but I’ve seen guys go through it.”
BROWN TAKES FANT’S SPOT
Newly signed Duane Brown is the projected starter at left tackle, Saleh confirmed, meaning George Fant will move to the right side.
The development is probably a downer for Fant, who played well at left tackle last season and is entering the final year of his contract. Traditionally, left tackles are paid more.
“I just want to be taken care of,” Fant said during training camp.
Fant was announced as the starting left tackle before the season-ending injury to Mekhi Becton, who is in L.A. for a doctor consultation before undergoing surgery to repair a fractured kneecap.
Becton’s injury hastened the signing of Brown, a 36-year-old Pro Bowler who now forces Fant’s move to the other side of the O-line. Saleh said he had a “very good and productive conversation” with Fant and tried to sell it to the media as a product of the 30-year-old’s versatility.
“His curse is also a blessing in that he’s extremely versatile and very athletic,” Saleh said.
The offensive line has been in flux since Saleh took over, largely because of Becton’s availability, or lack thereof.
“We just want those five goes out there together,” Saleh said. “We have not had continuity at all in that group through OTAs. We just want five guys to play together and build some continuity.”
LAWSON RETURN PUSHED BACK
Friday’s preseason opener was supposed to be the return of defensive end Carl Lawson, who missed all of last season with an Achilles tear.
Instead, Saleh made a last-minute decision to keep Lawson off the active list.
“He was pissed,” Saleh said.
The coach said he wanted to take it slower with Lawson’s recovery, making sure he first cleared the mental hurdle of being ready for his first game since the Achilles surgery.
Saleh basically guaranteed Lawson would play the next preseason contest – Aug. 22 against the Falcons.
“He’ll play for sure for sure,” Saleh said. “For sure for sure.”