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Jets QB Zach Wilson to have MRI to determine severity of knee injury

Zach Wilson, Jets, Zach Wilson interceptions

Zach Wilson sustained an injury to his right knee in the New York Jets’ preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and coach Robert Saleh said there would be no update on the quarterback until he gets an MRI on Saturday.

“I’m always concerned until you get the definitive evaluation,” Saleh said. “I’m not going to put anything out there, just let it play out and we’ll see tomorrow.”

Wilson sustained the non-contact injury on the Jet’s second drive in the first quarter. He scrambled for seven yards, juked to his right and dove forward to his left. He was not touched on the play and immediately came up limping. Wilson walked a few yards towards the huddle and dropped back down the turf.

“I think we got pressure off the right side, Zach felt it, he’s scrambling, that’s when you run your butt out of bounds, but he got a little greedy to get more (yards),” Saleh explained.

Zach Wilson walked unaided back to the locker room and was replaced by Mike White. Shortly after, the Jets announced that Wilson sustained a knee injury, though not its severity.

“I talked to him after the game … he was in good spirits, he was celebrating with the guys,” White said.

There hasn’t been much to celebrate for the Jets this past week. Starting right tackle Mekhi Becton sustained a likely season-ending knee injury in practice Monday and four days later there’s the potentially devastating injury to Wilson.

The Jets did rally behind fourth-string quarterback Chris Streveler to defeat the Eagles 24-21. White handled most of the reps after Wilson left the game and finished 10 of 20 in the air for 98 yards.

If Wilson is sidelined for a significant amount of time, the Jets likely will turn to Joe Flacco to be their starter. The former Super Bowl MVP did not dress for the preseason opener but has had an excellent training camp. He’s a 14-year NFL veteran who’s thrown 227 touchdowns and for more than 41,000 yards in his career.

“You guys know how I feel about Joe, everyone does, the world knows,” Saleh told reporters Friday. “Joe is a phenomenal football player. He’s having a great camp and he’s got a lot of juice left in the tank.”

Wilson has drawn praise from Saleh and his teammates for his growth as QB1 after a rocky rookie season. The second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft completed 55.6 percent of his passes and threw more picks (11) than touchdowns (9) last season. He also missed four games with a sprained right knee, the same one he injured against the Eagles.

There were shades of his rookie self when Wilson made a poor read and threw an interception on the Jets first drive Friday. While that was not an ideal start, the injury is what will leave Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas with a likely sleepless night.