Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had surgery on his left thumb last Friday and is wearing a brace on it in preparation for Sunday’s game against his old team, the Texans, in Houston.
Fitzpatrick had the surgery the day after their Thursday night game against Buffalo. That meant the Jets had a “mini bye week,” with about ten days off before their game in Houston.
He said of the procedure, “The surgery went well. Nothing unexpected in there. So, things are on schedule right now.”
On if he will ever be fully recovered from the left thumb injury suffered on November 1 in Oakland, “I don’t think it will go away. As the season goes along here, I will be getting better. I’ll still have to wear my brace, so I don’t see a whole lot of difference from what’s happened the last few games.” He was referring to wearing a glove on his left hand against the Jaguars on the 8th and Buffalo on the 12th.
The incredible thing is that Fitzpatrick is on track to miss no action after an injury that people felt would derail his season, one that began with such promise. If the Jets are to make the playoffs, he needs to be in there leading the offense.
The plan was for Fitzpatrick to throw some on Wednesday and then have him take snaps at practice on Thursday, and that would go a long way in determining if he would play on Sunday.
Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles said of how he thought Fitzpatrick did on Thursday, “I thought he did a good job. I didn’t think he was any worse for wear from last week. He’s not taking pain medicine or anything, so he had a full practice, so he’ll play Sunday. Barring any setbacks, he’ll play Sunday.”
Fitzpatrick played for Houston in 2014 and was traded to the Jets in March. He said of facing his old team, “I’ve got a lot of buddies on the other sideline. Its plays into it, too. I’ve been on enough teams now where you don’t hold grudges. It plays into it. I was on that team last year. I was still under contract and now I’m on this team this year. The fact that they didn’t necessarily want me at the end of the year plays into it a little bit for me from the personal standpoint. It’s not a big thing. We’re out there trying to win a game and get back on track. The personal stuff has to be set aside and I ave to try to win a football game.”
The Jets enter Sunday’s game having lost three of their last four games to leave their record at 5-4 after a quick 4-1 start. They are in the hunt for a wild-card spot with Buffalo and Pittsburgh.
On if he feels like the mini-break they had this past weekend came at the right time, Bowles said, “I don’t know. A break always comes at the right time whether you’re banged up or not. But, it helped a couple guys get healthy for us, so that helped them get better. The other guys, we need to practice to get better. But we have some healthy bodies to do it, so it came at a decent time.”
Houston will be going with their backup quarterback T.J. Yates, as Brian Hoyer is recovering from a concussion he suffered Monday night in Cincinnati.
Bowles said of Yates, “He can run, he’s big, he has a strong arm. We know that he can run, he’s a good athlete that way. He’s got a cannon of an arm. He can throw the ball in there and he’s started some games in this league. So, you’re scared about any starting quarterback coming into the league and can start in the game the next week you’re playing him.”
On if the coaches look back to the last time Yates has started a game in the NFL, Bowles said, “No, we’re playing against the scheme. You can’t go back and look. We know the guy can throw the ball. We know he’s a good football player, so you work on what you see on film.”
On if it is harder to prepare for Yates because he has played so sparingly the last few seasons, Bowles said, “No, again, we’re playing against the scheme. If there was a vast difference between a running quarterback and a throwing quarterback, you kind of look at some things, but he’s a true quarterback. He can throw the ball. He’s not too far behind Hoyer, so we’ll just get ready to play Houston in general.”