Jets QB Mike White dealing with 'multiple' rib fractures, not yet cleared to play Thursday night vs. Jaguars

Mike White might miss a second game for the New York Jets while he continues to recover from "multiple" rib fractures, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Doctors still haven't cleared White to play before the Jets' Week 16 match with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night, per Rapoport.

White initially suffered the injury in the Jets' Week 14 loss to the Buffalo Bills after a big hit from linebacker Matt Milano. White missed a few snaps but finished the game. While the Jets expected White to be ready for Week 15, doctors wouldn't medically clear him to play because of the severity of his injuries, so the team turned back to 2021 No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson. The Jets dropped their third consecutive game in a 20-17 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Prior to being ruled out for Week 15, White reportedly talked with "almost 10 doctors" in an effort to get cleared for the game. But the location of White's fractures on his chest reportedly "makes the area really vulnerable," he told reporters last week.

"I'm always going to try to fight like hell to be out on the field with my guys," White said. "It's frustrating but it's part of football, part of life that you got to deal with and be there for your guys in other ways."

Wilson vs. White

Jets head coach Robert Saleh didn't go into details about White's status when he spoke to reporters Monday, only that White is "still going through evaluation." Saleh also remained coy when pressed on if a healthy White would start over Wilson against the Jaguars.

"We'll get the clearance first," Saleh said. "That's something I've got to talk to the offense staff about. We'll see what happens. I'm not prepared to answer that.

"There's more scans to see how much he's healed," Saleh added. "There was talk that they felt like a week would show more healing, some callous, if you will, to get on the field. That's something he would have to get from another doctor and still be able to talk to our doctors about it, too. So there are a lot of hurdles he would have to go through [to start]."

The Jets benched Wilson for White for Week 11 following an abysmal performance against the New England Patriots and kept him inactive for the next three games with White installed as QB1. White soundly beat the Chicago Bears but failed to orchestrate wins over the Minnesota Vikings and Bills. The Jets then decided topromote Wilson to No. 2 quarterback over veteran Joe Flacco for Week 15.

When White was unexpectedly ruled out by doctors before the Lions' game, Wilson returned as the starter and completed 51.4 percent of his passing attempts for 317 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. It was Wilson's best offensive performance since a Week 8 loss to the Patriots. The Jets still lost, in part, because of Wilson's mistakes.

Despite the ambiguity at the quarterback position, Saleh insisted Wilson will still have a role to play in the Jets' future even after another loss.

"I'm really pumped for him because, in his past, when he hit a speed bump in a game, he kind of derails," Saleh said. "But I thought he did a really good job of getting back on the rails and swinging back up in the fourth quarter to lead a touchdown drive."

Both White and Wilson have won this season for New York but in different ways.

White is 1-2 as a starter but has a 62 percent completion rate and averages 317.3 passing yards per game with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Wilson, meanwhile, is 5-3 as the starter but is completing just 54.9 percent of his passes, has thrown six touchdowns and six interceptions and is averaging only 199.5 passing yards per game. Oddly enough, White's Jets averaged only 1.1 points more per game than Wilson's – 21.6 vs. 20.5.

Thursday night's showdown will be a pivotal game in both the Jets' and Jaguars' postseason aspirations. A win for either team boosts their respective chances to make the playoffs, while a loss would make it that much harder. If White is healthy, he'll have an intriguing decision that will undoubtedly affect both the Jets' 2022 season as well as its long-term future at the position.