Jets’ second-year quarterback Zach Wilson is in line to make his season debut on Sunday against the Steelers, according to head coach Robert Saleh.
Wilson has been out since he suffered a bone bruise and torn meniscus during New York’s preseason opener against Philadelphia on August 12.
Shortly after, he successfully underwent a meniscus trim (debridement) rather than a repair surgery, which has a recovery timeline of 1-3 months. Debridement surgery has a shorter recovery timeline at 4-6 weeks. Due to the meniscus having limited blood supply, debridement surgery is commonly used when a full repair is not immediately necessary. The procedure involves removing the torn portion of the meniscus. What’s left is a smaller – but still healthy and functional – meniscus.
Our algorithm predicts he is four days past Optimal Recovery, which is a good sign for him in Week 4. Saleh has also voiced his support for Wilson, saying “He’s very comfortable […] He’s in a great mental state. Everyone is comfortable with where he’s at physically.”
Wilson’s Injury Risk is still High at 20%, but his Health Performance Factor is Peak (89%). He should be able to play at a high level, but should also try to minimize hits and agility moves due to his Injury Risk.
Something to note about Wilson’s surgery is that meniscus trims – also called partial meniscectomies – can have long term complications. In a 2010 study, researchers found that only 50% of athletes who underwent a partial meniscectomy regained pre-injury levels of activity, opposed to 96.2% of those who underwent a full meniscus repair.
Had Wilson undergone a full meniscus repair, he would be in a better position to regain his pre-injury levels of activity, but it would come at the cost of a longer recovery time. Undergoing the partial meniscectomy get’s Wilson back on the field earlier, but there is a possibility he needs additional surgery either in this upcoming offseason or later in his career.
Wilson and the Jets (1-2) travel to Pittsburgh this weekend to take on the Steelers and their pressure-heavy defense. That being said, Pittsburgh’s defense also allows the 10th-most passing yards per game (252.0).