Mike White revealed he has fractured ribs and that is why he won’t start at quarterback for the New York Jets on Sunday. Coach Robert Saleh announced earlier Friday that Zach Wilson will start against the Detroit Lions but didn’t get into specifics about White’s injury.
White also told reporters that he went to 10 different doctors trying to find one who would clear him to play. The Jets medical staff cleared White to practice this week but didn’t clear him for contact. Saleh then decided to sit White against the Lions to “protect the player from the player.”
“It’s the right decision and they all explained the situation to me,” White said. “But it is frustrating.”
Mike White says it’s a fracture to the ribs. The worry is that if he gets hit in the wrong place it will cause further damage.
He talked to 10 different doctors trying to get clearance. #Jets pic.twitter.com/DMYBwqKQWz
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) December 16, 2022
White showed legendary toughness last week in a 20-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He was knocked out of the game twice following huge hits to the ribs. Each time he returned trying to rally his team. White finished 27 of 44 for 268 yards despite playing much of the game in intense pain.
Saleh called White “an absolute warrior” on Friday.
“I’m always gonna try to fight like hell to be on the field with my guys,” White explained. “It’s frustrating, but it’s part of football.”
Mike White said it didn’t come up initially on the X-Ray but his ribs are fractured. They’ll get scans next week and then “go from there”. Knows it will be more challenging to come back on a short week. #Jets
— Zack Rosenblatt (@ZackBlatt) December 16, 2022
How long will Mike White be sidelined?
No one from the Jets has speculated how long White might be out. Saleh said it would be difficult for the 27-year-old to start next week since the Jets play Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Rich Cimini of ESPN spoke to a doctor not affiliated with White nor the Jets who said the QB could be sidelined 3-5 weeks. There are four weeks remaining in the regular season.
Spoke to a doctor (not affiliated with Jets) who says placement of fracture will determine how long he's out. If there's concern that another hit could cause internal damage, it's a 3-5 week injury, per doctor. https://t.co/gCqN0nJ4uQ
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) December 16, 2022
White was 1-2 in three starts after replacing the benched Wilson following a brutal Week 11 loss to the New England Patriots. He’s thrown for 952 yards and three touchdowns and completed 62 percent of his passes.
But as important as the opportunity to play and help the Jets in their playoff push is, White acknowledged being healthy for his wife and twins is paramount for him.
Mike White shares a conversation he had with his wife about his injury:
"Yes, I'm a football player now, but I've got to be her husband and my kids' dad for well past my playing days." pic.twitter.com/oEHj5t9qux
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) December 16, 2022
Zach Wilson gets second chance as Jets starting quarterback
Wilson now has a chance to salvage his second NFL season. He’s been working behind the scenes to improve his erratic throwing and rebuild his status among teammates, who were not thrilled with his lack of accountability this season.
The Jets (7-6) have lost four of six and likely need to win three of their final four games to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2010.