New York Jets QB Zach Wilson medically cleared, will start against Pittsburgh Steelers – ESPN

New York Jets coach Robert Saleh not ready to rule Zach Wilson out for Week 1 after QB's knee surgery - ESPN

FLORHAM PARK, NJ — After sitting out the first three games with a preseason knee injury, quarterback Zach Wilson has been medically cleared and will start Sunday for the New York Jets, coach Robert Saleh announced Wednesday.

Wilson, who has practiced on a limited basis the past two weeks, is expected to take a full load of practice reps as he heads for his comeback — a road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Saleh was optimistic that would be the outcome, pending confirmation from Wilson’s Los Angeles-based doctor.

Saleh said Wilson will “absolutely” start, assuming he gets through the week of practice.

“He’s very comfortable,” Saleh said. “He’s in a great mental state. Everyone is comfortable with where he is physically.”

The former BYU star, drafted second overall in 2021, tore his meniscus and suffered a bone bruise on a non-contact play in the first preseason game. On August 16, he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in Los Angeles, performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

At first, it was considered a two- to four-week recovery, but the Jets announced on Sept. 7 — four days before the opener — that Wilson would return Week 4 at the earliest.

The Jets went 1-2 during Wilson’s absence, with Joe Flacco leading them to an impressive comeback victory over the Cleveland Browns in Week 2. Flacco is fifth in passing yards (901), but he has led the offense to just five touchdowns in three games, including two in the final 1:22 of the Cleveland. a miracle

“It’s exciting to have him back there,” Saleh said. “But at the same time, it’s not all about Zach. It makes sure we’re executing on all cylinders.”

Wilson returns to a unit that struggled to stop the passer — allowing nine sacks. Left gear George Fant (knee) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, meaning career backup Conor McDermott will probably get the nod in his place. McDermott, re-signed after being cut at the end of the preseason, struggled mightily in last week’s 27-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Saleh said the uneasy situation at tackle did not cause any hesitation in returning to Wilson.

“His knee is 100 percent,” Saleh said. “As far as the kits go, we have all the faith in the world in the guys we do have. Max [Mitchell] is playing really well, and McDermott has played a lot of good football.”

The Jets face a Pittsburgh defense known for its exotic pressure packages, but it hasn’t been the same without an elite pass rusher. TJ Watt (torn pectoral muscle), who was placed on IR on September 15th. The Steelers are 0-6 without Watt, dating back to his rookie season in 2017.

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