New York Jets team doctors are not clearing quarterback Mike White for contact ahead of Sunday’s game, meaning Zach Wilson will get the start against the Detroit Lions, coach Robert Saleh announced Friday.
White suffered an unspecified rib injury during Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. He has wanted to play and practiced, but Jets doctors are not signing off to let him on the field.
“Mike White, who is an absolute warrior and has been doing everything he can this week to find another option to get him on the football field, to find someone who will clear him for contact, has exhausted every measure he can because he wants to be out there for his teammates,” Saleh said.
Therefore, Wilson, who has been inactive the past three weeks after being benched, is back as the Jets’ starter as they look to snap a two-game losing streak and keep their playoff hopes on track.
Saleh called it a “great opportunity” for Wilson to return to the starting role.
White was injured during the 20-12 loss to the Bills on a crushing hit by Buffalo linebacker Matt Milano. White twice left the game but returned to finish the contest, impressing teammates and coaches with his toughness, before going to a Buffalo-area hospital for a precautionary CT scan.
Saleh said the Jets would reevaluate White’s injury Monday but acknowledged it will be a short turnaround with New York hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night.
Earlier this week, Wilson had been moved up to the No. 2 quarterback spot behind White. Wilson said Wednesday that he still believed he was the Jets’ quarterback of the future.
“I definitely believe in myself,” Wilson said. “Of course, I have all the confidence in the world — I think that’s how it should be — but you have to be able to prove that.”
Prior to being benched, Wilson had gone 5-2 as the starter but had completed an NFL-worst 55.6% of his passes (105-for-189) with four touchdowns and five interceptions. White is 1-2 as the starter, completing 80 of 129 passes (62%) for 952 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions.
According to ESPN Analytics, a win over the Lions would give the Jets a 34% chance of making the playoffs. Their chances would drop to 14% with a loss.
ESPN’s Rich Cimini and The Associated Press contributed to this report.