Zach Wilson starts for Jets as Mike White was not cleared for contact

New York Jets team doctors are not giving quarterback Mike White any contact ahead of Sunday’s game, meaning Zach Wilson will play the Detroit Lions, coach Robert Saleh announced Friday.

White sustained an unspecified rib injury in Sunday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. He wanted to play and he’s been practicing, but the Jets doctors won’t let him on the field.

“Mike White, who is an absolute warrior and has done everything this week to find another option to get him onto the football field, to find someone to release him to contact, has exhausted every measure that he can because he wants to be out there for his teammates,” Saleh said.

Therefore, Wilson, who has been inactive for the past three weeks after being benched, is back as the Jets’ starter as they seek to end a two-game losing streak and keep their playoff hopes on track.

Saleh called it a “great opportunity” for Wilson to return to the regular role.

White was injured in a crushing punch from Buffalo linebacker Matt Milano during the 20-12 loss to the Bills. White left the game twice but returned to finish the contest, impressing teammates and coaches with his toughness before heading to a Buffalo-area hospital for a precautionary CT scan.

Saleh said the Jets would reassess White’s injury on Monday but acknowledged there will be a brief turnaround as New York hosts the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night.

Wide receiver Corey Davis (concussion) was also ruled out, while Saleh said defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (Wade) remained playable 50-50.

Earlier this week, Wilson had risen to the No. 2 quarterback rank behind White. Wilson said Wednesday he still believes he is the quarterback of the Jets’ future.

“I definitely believe in myself,” Wilson said. “Of course I have all the faith in the world – I think that’s how it should be – but you have to be able to prove that.”

Before being benched, Wilson was going 5-2 as a starter but had completed an NFL-worst 55.6% of his passes (105 to 189) with four touchdowns and five interceptions. White is 1-2 as a starter and completes 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. Your odds would drop to 14% if you lost.

ESPN’s Rich Cimini and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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