Ryan Fitzpatrick hopeful he won't miss any action if he opts for surgery

Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 21 of 34 passes for 272 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against the Jaguars despite a torn ligament in his non-throwing hand. Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- If Ryan Fitzpatrick has thumb surgery on Friday -- and it certainly appears he's leaning that way -- he hopes to back in time for the New York Jets' next game, Nov. 22 against the Houston Texans.

So relax, folks. Don't be freaked out by the words "starting quarterback" and "surgery" in the same sentence.

"It depends on when I have it, but I think I still could be able to play with a brace if I did have it (during the season)," Fitzpatrick said Monday after a light practice.

Fitzpatrick was cagey on whether the surgery will happen Friday, the day after the Jets play the Buffalo Bills to start a mini-bye week, but it's not hard to connect the dots. He'd like to get it done before the end of the season and Friday affords him the best, perhaps only opportunity to have the surgery without missing a game.

"Obviously, I don't want to miss any time or any games," he said. "The decision will be based on that, to make sure I don't miss any time."

Smiling, he added, "We'll see. You'll probably know something by Friday."

Fitzpatrick needs surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left (non-throwing) thumb. He played Sunday with a brace and a protective glove, claiming there were only two plays in the game in which his ailing thumb was a factor. He said he was "surprised how little an issue it was." He wound up passing for 272 yards and two touchdowns in his first no-turnover game of the season. Go figure.

Dr. Aaron Daluiski, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand and upper extremity services at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, said there's no reason why Fitzpatrick couldn't play a game 10 days after having the ligament surgically repaired. Daluiski hasn't examined the Jets' quarterback; he's basing his opinion on his knowledge of UCL tears. He called it "a freak injury," saying Fitzpatrick shouldn't worry about it happening again because it's his non-dominant hand and it will be well-protected by a brace.

"If I were him, I'd play (after surgery)," he said in a phone interview. "Medically, there's no reason not to. If that's how you make your living, you should play."

Daluiski said there's no risk for permanent damage by waiting until after the season, but he acknowledged "it becomes more difficult to fix by waiting. It's still fixable, but it's easier to do it sooner."

Coach Todd Bowles seems to be on board with the Friday surgery, noting that Fitzpatrick would benefit from having three extra days to heal. He confirmed the team's thinking, saying his quarterback could be ready for the Texans.

Fitzpatrick said the pain is manageable, adding he hasn't taken medication or painkilling injections.