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What Are the Chances Jets QB Aaron Rodgers Returns to Play vs. Commanders?

Zach Wilson Is in Concussion Protocol, Will Start if Cleared, Robert Saleh Says


With Jets QB Zach Wilson in the concussion protocol and a Wednesday deadline to activate QB Aaron Rodgers from injured reserve, HC Robert Saleh would not entertain the possibility of Rodgers playing quite yet.

"Obviously we'll have to meet with his doctors and see if there's actual clearance on their part," Saleh said. "There has to be clearance on our doctors' parts, so there's a lot of steps there. Then obviously there has to be a discussion with Aaron in terms of what the next step would be and the comfort level of everybody on board. It's not something that's made in a vacuum, but all the right conversations would be had."

Rodgers, who returned to practice Nov. 29 after he underwent surgery to repair his left Achilles tendon Sept. 14, ramped up his workload last week. He has only taken 7-on-7 reps and participated in individual drills, which included quarterback bootlegs and lateral movement, something he had not done since his return to practice.

If the four-time NFL MVP suited up Sunday, he would lead a team that's no longer in playoff contention. The Jets were eliminated Sunday with their loss to the Dolphins, and wins by both the Texans and Browns, which begs the question -- Why return?

"I'm sure you could make arguments on both sides of the coin, but until that conversation is actually real, it's not a conversation I'm thinking about," Saleh said. He added: "Aaron wants to play. Let's not confuse that one. That's why he's been working so hard to get back. His willingness to play, even if he's not 100 percent, is at the forefront of his mind. He wants to go, but until he's actually cleared, I'm not going to talk about it with anybody."

Saleh said that Wilson, however, will start against the Commanders in Week 16 if he clears the concussion protocol. Wilson reportedly exited Sunday's game at Miami before the end of the first for hydration before he was ruled out with a head injury.

"I'm not exactly sure on the communication," Saleh said. "I just know that it came from up top that they wanted to review possible head injury. He was put in the protocol and that's it."

There are five stages to clear the protocol – limited activity, aerobic exercise, football-specific exercise, non-contact drills and full activity/clearance. Each phase can take a different amount of time based on the severity of the concussion, which doesn't paint a clear timeline for Wilson's return. Trevor Siemian, who completed 14-of-26 passes for 110 yards and 2 interceptions in Wilson's relief, would start if Wilson does not play.

Saleh did note Wilson "definitely could" start Sunday in the team's final home game without practicing during the week.

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