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Jets QBs Zach Wilson and Mike White likely to practice this week, but starter not decided

Jets quarterbacks Mike White and Zach Wilson during

Jets quarterbacks Mike White and Zach Wilson during training camp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J. on Aug. 12. Credit: Noah K. Murray

The Jets got encouraging news about the health of quarterbacks Zach Wilson and Mike White on Friday, and now the real intrigue begins.

Coach Robert Saleh said both players are trending toward practicing in the week to come, but he’s not ready to say which player will start Nov. 14 against the Bills.

"We’ll see where they are from an injury standpoint," Saleh said on a Zoom call. "We’ll see how far along Zach is, Mike is, and we’ll go from there. With Mike, it’s trending in that direction. With Zach, it’s trending in that direction. But it’s still day-to-day. We’ll get a lot more information as we get closer to Monday or Wednesday."

The Jets are off this weekend. They are scheduled to return to their practice facility on Monday, have Tuesday off and practice Wednesday.

Wilson has missed the last two games with a sprained right posterior cruciate ligament. The rookie got in a good workout on the field before Thursday night’s 45-30 loss to the Colts and didn’t appear to be favoring his knee.

White injured his right forearm in the second series of the game and didn’t return. Saleh said White suffered a nerve contusion in his throwing arm.

"The nerve just went dead on him," Saleh said.

Two of White’s fingers went numb and he couldn’t grip the ball. He said he regained feeling toward the end of the game, but the Jets weren’t going to reinsert him. Josh Johnson finished the game.

"Now it’s just a matter of the contusion and swelling going down and getting his arm strength back," Saleh said.

It’s completely conceivable that White will start a third straight game while Wilson is either inactive or the backup.

White has been able to move the football far better and lead scoring drives in the short time he’s been the Jets’ starting quarterback.

He threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday’s win over the Bengals and added a touchdown pass Thursday (he went numb after the throw). He has thrown for five touchdowns on 88 pass attempts. Wilson has thrown four touchdown passes in 181 attempts.

The Jets have invested a lot of time and money in Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft and the quarterback the franchise believes will lead them to the playoffs and more. They also put the personnel around him that they believe will make him successful.

Wilson’s development was the most important aspect of this season, but

if both quarterbacks are healthy, the Jets also have to consider which one gives them the best chance to win. Right now, that appears to be White.

"We’re going to talk about all that stuff," Saleh said. "The quarterback is always at the forefront of our mind. This is a very young offense that’s also trying to be developed. We’ll see through practice and through reps.

"I’m not saying there’s competition. It’s still a hypothetical because there’s still guys that are close to being nearly, fully 100%. We’ll see how practice goes as we get closer to it."

Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said the team hasn’t discussed how the reps will be handled if both quarterbacks take part in team drills. The past two weeks, White has taken all of the first-team reps. Before Wilson got hurt in Week 7 in New England, he took all of them.

"What I’m looking forward to most is getting them both back on the field on Wednesday to keep getting them better," LaFleur said. "This whole thing is a process. We want wins as much as anyone. But what I keep preaching to the offense [is to] just keep on trying to get better every day. This is a process, and the results will come. Just keep on grinding, and it’s the same thing with the quarterbacks.

"I’m excited to get them both back out there and see what they can do when they’re healthy."

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