Jets Team Doctors Who Let Mike White Keep Playing Last Sunday Won’t Clear Him This Sunday; Zach Wilson Returns As Starter

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New York Jets doctors felt comfortable letting Mike White continue playing last Sunday after he took a vicious hit to the torso. White finished that game against the Buffalo Bills, but those same doctors are not clearing White to play this Sunday. So Zach Wilson is the starting quarterback again.

Wilson, promoted to second string earlier this week, will start against the Detroit Lions. Wilson will also likely start next Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The reason is White, who has started the past three games when the Jets were 1-2, has not been cleared for contact by Jets doctors. White apparently fractured at least one of his ribs when Bills linebacker Matt Milano drove his shoulder into the quarterback’s torso. It was a clean hit.

White continued playing against the Bills so team doctors on the sideline allowed that to happen. And he was cleared to practice on a limited basis this week. But the doctors, following further testing, would not clear him for contact against the Lions.

As is his choice, White tried to find second opinions from doctors who would clear him for contact, but he could not find any. White said he spoke with 10 different doctors

Mike White of the New York Jets is hit during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. (Getty Images)

Mike White Found No Doctor To Clear Him

“He feels fine, but our doctors, and rightfully so, would not clear him for contact,” Saleh told reporters. “That opinion will not change. And it’s gotten to the point where we could drag this out to Sunday, guys, but this is one of those instances we’re going to do what’s best for the player and protect the player from the player.”

Interestingly, the Jets doctors did not protect the player from the player during the Buffalo game.

What changed?

“If I get hit in the right spot, it could lead to some further damage,” White said, echoing what doctors told him recently.

And, again, that message was nowhere to be found on during the Bills game.

“He feels fine,” Saleh said. “He can throw the ball fine and is not in pain. It’s a contact issue. If it was 7 on 7, he’d be out there playing. But it’s not.”

Wilson has gotten a vast majority of the first-team repetitions in practice this week. He’ll get all the first-team repetitions in Friday’s practice and Saturday’s walk-through.

“We feel very comfortable about Zach’s preparation as the first string quarterback,” Saleh said, “that he’s gotten his normal workload that he would normally get with the limitations that were placed on Mike.”

Saleh said White will be re-evaluated on Monday and left the door ajar for him playing Thursday.

“But the challenge with that is that it’s a short week,” Saleh said. “We’d feel confident if it was a full week. The short week makes it a challenge.”

Zach Wilson returns to his starting job.
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson calls signals in warm up before a game between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets on October 24, 2021, at Gillette Stadium. (Getty Images)

Zach Wilson Starts For Jets Again

This means Wilson has to play to a high level in the next game or two to avoid White being able to take back the position.

Wilson lost his starting job three weeks ago when Saleh decided the second-year quarterback needed a reset. He needed, the coach said, a chance to work on his footwork and other mechanics.

So have the three weeks out of the lineup given Wilson enough time to fix those?

“Good question, I don’t think it’s impossible,” Saleh said. “He’s done a really nice job. He’s had two of his best throwing days in practice. Practice, at the end of the day, doesn’t matter. You got to go do it on Sunday, but felt like he’s been doing a really good job finding completions and getting the ball where he needs to with accuracy.

“For him it’s making the easy, easy with regards to getting your feet in the direction they need to go, getting your body set and deliver the football in the way he knows how.”

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

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