NEW YORK (AP) — Mike White is back at quarterback for the New York Jets.
And just in time, with their playoff hopes hanging by a thread.
White was cleared by doctors and will start Sunday in Seattle, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation.
White missed the Jets’ past two games while dealing with broken ribs suffered in New York’s 20-12 loss at Buffalo on Dec. 11. He has practiced on a limited basis since, but hadn’t been cleared by doctors for contact so he couldn’t play.
That clearance came Monday, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hadn’t announced the results of White’s examination.
The New York Post first reported White had been cleared and will start Sunday.
With the Jets (7-8) still in the playoff hunt with two games remaining, they get their quarterback back.
White went 80 of 129 for 952 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions while starting three games in place of the benched Zach Wilson. He was twice knocked out of the game against the Bills. X-rays at the stadium were clear and he finished the game, but CT scans at a hospital revealed a fracture to his ribs.
“A couple in a row,” White said two weeks ago, “that makes that area just kind of really vulnerable.”
Jets team doctors ruled he couldn’t be cleared for contact, and White said he sought the opinion of about 10 independent doctors who all concurred.
Wilson started the past two games in White’s absence, but struggled mightily. He was replaced by fourth-string quarterback Chris Streveler, promoted from the practice squad before the game, to give the Jets a spark in their 19-3 loss to Jacksonville last Thursday night.
Wilson, who was benched to reset his mechanics and mental approach, went 27 of 53 for 409 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions in his starts against Detroit and Jacksonville — both losses during which the offense had trouble finding consistency.
Wilson’s performance against the Jaguars in front of a national audience — 9 of 18 for 92 yards and an INT — was a clear indication he had not fixed the flaws that ailed him before his benching.
The Jets’ playoff situation appeared dire after that loss, but New York received some good news with the results of some other games over the weekend. Miami, New England and Las Vegas all lost, so New York remains in ninth place in the AFC playoff standings behind the Patriots (7-8) and Dolphins (8-7).
The Jets can snap an 11-year postseason drought if they win their final two games at Seattle and Miami, and the Patriots lose one of their last two against Miami at home or at Buffalo.