Ryan Fitzpatrick is likely to have surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left (non-throwing) thumb Friday, the day after the Jets face the Bills at MetLife Stadium. And because the Jets don't play again until Nov. 22 in Houston, there's a possibility Fitzpatrick will be back by then.
Fitzpatrick was coy when discussing it Monday, a day after leading the Jets to a 28-23 win over the Jaguars. He said the surgery will take place either Friday or after the season, but he appears to be leaning toward this week.
"So the information is I need surgery at some point. I will not be having surgery before the game on Thursday," Fitzpatrick said. "That's about all I'll feed you for now."
Asked if it is fair to say he is leaning toward surgery on Friday, he said: "We'll see. You'll probably know something by Friday."
He added that he is "kind of weighing different options right now. Obviously, I don't want to miss any time or any games."
Fitzpatrick injured the thumb during the first series of last week's 34-20 loss in Oakland and missed the remainder of the game, except for two plays after Geno Smith was hit in the abdomen and briefly had to leave.
Fitzpatrick's left hand was caught on the grass while he was being tackled. He suffered a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament and played against the Jaguars with a molded brace on his injured thumb.
Jets coach Todd Bowles acknowledged the surgery could take place Friday.
"That would leave him a couple days to recover if he decides to get it," Bowles said.
Asked how long Fitzpatrick would be out if he had the surgery, Bowles replied, "He may not be out."
Bowles said if Fitzpatrick doesn't get the surgery, the injury could worsen. "There's a chance it could get damaged, but the way they have it bandaged up, he's been OK with it. It's better to try to fix it now than to go all season, if we can do it."
Fitzpatrick said: "From my understanding, it gets a little more complicated the longer you wait. The ligament changes over time the longer you wait when it tears. It shrivels up or shrinks, and that's what makes it a little more complicated."
If Fitzpatrick were to have the surgery and return within 10 days, it would be much quicker than the average person, according to Dr. Steve K. Lee, an orthopedic hand surgeon and associate professor for orthopedic surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery and Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
"Six weeks is usually the time frame for the ligament to heal, and then most people take four to six weeks for the rest of the healing process like rehab and hand therapy," Lee said in an interview with Newsday on Monday night. "They're mostly feeling pretty normal within three months."
Lee said it would not be unprecedented for Fitzpatrick to have the surgery and return to action in a much quicker time frame, including the following week.
"For injuries like this, if you can protect it well enough to protect the repair, a player can come back fairly quickly," he said. "We're not talking about a broken femur. You couldn't play football on a broken femur. As long as it's not a crucial part of their performance and it can be protected, then it's certainly possible. The real hope is that you have a protective splint so that the repair isn't under any stress."