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Is Zach Wilson still on track to return next week?

Deseret News 9/26/2022 Brandon Judd
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson reacts during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Bengals won 27-12. © Adam Hunger, Associated Press New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson reacts during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. The Bengals won 27-12.

As long as there aren’t any setbacks, Zach Wilson’s return will come next week.

That’s the latest from several reports Sunday, with the expectation the second-year New York Jets quarterback will play in the team’s Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Wilson, the former BYU quarterback, is expected to be cleared by doctors next week, as he works to return from a meniscus tear and bone bruise in his right knee that the quarterback suffered in the Jets’ preseason opener.

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That echoes the sentiment from others, though his head coach was more cautious in broaching the subject.

“I’m expecting (him back), but until the doctors say so, I’m just going to say he’s being evaluated,” Jets coach Robert Saleh told reporters after the team’s 27-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Saleh said the team will evaluate Wilson’s situation Monday.

SNY.tv shared video of Wilson throwing on the field prior to New York’s game against Cincinnati.

SNY.tv’s Connor Hughes reported that as long as there are no setbacks this week for Wilson, it’s “full steam ahead” for his return against Pittsburgh.

“Zach Wilson is expected to get cleared for 11-on-11 drills this week & will return to practice fully with first-team offense. He looks & feels great I’m told,” Hughes wrote.

If Wilson does make his season debut against the Steelers, he’ll take over a team that’s 1-2 on the year, following the loss to the Bengals.

Veteran Joe Flacco has been serving as the Jets’ starting quarterback in his place. 

One week after Flacco threw for 307 yards and four touchdowns in leading New York to a come-from-behind win over Cleveland, he threw two interceptions and the Jets didn’t score a touchdown in falling to Cincinnati.

There’s another issue for the Jets offense: the offensive tackle position has been decimated by injuries. George Fant was the latest to go down, leaving Sunday’s game with a knee injury that, according to Hughes, “has been plaguing him for weeks.”

With the offensive tackle issues the Jets are facing due to injuries, it increases the importance of the team having a more mobile quarterback like Wilson versus a more stationary Flacco, Hughes said.

“It is so important that (Wilson) is not only back under center but that he’s the same quarterback he was before he injured his own knee — the elusiveness, the mobility, the ability to move the picket left and right and adjust under pressure, that’s what the Jets need under center,” Hughes said.

“If they can get that with Zach Wilson, maybe there’s an offense this offense can ignite.” 

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