Sources: QB Wilson returns for struggling Jets

  • Longtime Jets beat writer for New York Daily News
  • Syracuse University graduate

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The New York Jets’ quarterback carousel spun again Tuesday, this time stopping on rookie Zach Wilson.

The No. 2 overall pick, sidelined the past four games with a sprained knee, will return Sunday to start against the Houston Texans, a league source confirmed. He was cleared after medical evaluations on Monday and Tuesday.

The return to Wilson was inevitable; it was just a matter of when. As of today, Wilson and Josh Johnson are the only active QBs because Mike White and Joe Flacco were put on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday. A source said they were deemed close contacts, but the decision to start Wilson had nothing to do with their status.

Wilson will be the third different starter in as many games. Initially, he was replaced by White, who started three games before being benched in favor of Flacco, the starter in Sunday’s 24-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

When Wilson suffered a second-degree sprain of his right posterior cruciate ligament in Week 7, he was expected to miss two to four weeks because of the injury, according to the Jets.

A lot happened while he was recovering. White, in his first career start, electrified the team and fan base with a 405-yard passing performance in an upset of the Cincinnati Bengals. Coach Robert Saleh sparked speculation by refusing to say Wilson would return to his role once he got healthy.

White lost his touch with a four-interception outing in Week 10, prompting Saleh to make a controversial change for the Miami game. The decision to start Flacco over White was met with sharp criticism, but Flacco did a creditable job in the loss — 291 yards and two touchdowns.

Wilson has practiced the past two weeks on a limited basis, but the organization didn’t want to put him on the field until he was 100% healthy.

“We’re going to make sure we protect this young man,” Saleh said Monday. “When he’s fully healthy and he feels like there’s no limitations with his ability to play where he’s not thinking about the knee, we’ll get him back out there.”

Wilson is 1-5 as the starter, with four touchdown passes, nine interceptions and a 27.0 QBR, which ranks 31st out of 33 qualified passers.

The Athletic first reported the return to Wilson.

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