Sources - QB Zach Wilson returns for struggling New York Jets

UniqueThis 4 Nov 23
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4:51 PM ET

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets' quarterback carousel spun again Tuesday.

Rookie Zach Wilson, the No. 2 pick, has been sidelined the past four games with a sprained knee but will return Sunday to start against the Houston Texans, a league source confirmed.

Meanwhile, sources told Adam Schefter that quarterback Mike White has tested positive for COVID-19 and that fellow QB Joe Flacco was deemed a close contact. Both were put on the COVID list.

Josh Johnson is being promoted from the practice squad to back up Wilson.

Wilson was cleared after medical evaluations on Monday, and sources said that the status of the other quarterbacks did not figure into the decision to start him.

Wilson will be the third different starter in as many games. Initially, he was replaced by White, who started three games before being benched in favor of Flacco, the starter in Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

When Wilson suffered a second-degree sprain of his right posterior cruciate ligament in Week 7, he was expected to miss two to four weeks because of the injury, according to the Jets.

A lot happened while he was recovering. White, in his first career start, electrified the team and fan base with a 405-yard passing performance in an upset of the Cincinnati Bengals. Coach Robert Saleh sparked speculation by refusing to say Wilson would return to his role once he got healthy.

White lost his touch with a four-interception outing in Week 10, prompting Saleh to make a controversial change for the Miami game. The decision to start Flacco over White was met with sharp criticism, but Flacco did a creditable job in the loss -- 291 yards and two touchdowns.

Wilson has practiced the past two weeks on a limited basis, but the organization didn't want to put him on the field until he was 100% healthy.

"We're going to make sure we protect this young man," Saleh said Monday. "When he's fully healthy and he feels like there's no limitations with his ability to play where he's not thinking about the knee, we'll get him back out there."

Flacco, acquired in an Oct. 25 trade with the Eagles, said last week he's unvaccinated. According to NFL protocols, he must test negative for five days before being allowed to return to the facility. He also had to clear a five-day entry period at the time of the trade. It's unclear whether the Jets knew his vaccination status before sending a 2022 sixth-round pick to the Eagles.

White's vaccination status isn't known. If he's vaccinated, he can return after two negative tests at least 24 hours apart. Regardless, the team is planning to use Johnson as their backup on Sunday.

Wilson is 1-5 as the starter, with four touchdown passes, nine interceptions and a 27.0 QBR, which ranks 31st out of 33 qualified passers.

The Athletic first reported the team's return to Wilson.