FRANKLYWNOW - COPY-Jets QB Sanchez could opt for left knee surgery

COPY-Jets QB Sanchez could opt for left knee surgery

AP Sports Writer

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez might have surgery this offseason to stabilize the patella ligament in his left knee, which was injured during college.

Sanchez, who just completed his rookie season, won't need any procedures on his right knee, which sustained a sprained posterior cruciate ligament earlier this season.

He had both knees examined by team doctors this week, and also had them looked at by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday.

General manager Mike Tannenbaum said Sanchez would be ready "well before training camp" if he elects to have the procedure, which isn't considered major, but could miss some early offseason workouts.

"It would certainly be much sooner than later because, right now, nothing has been decided," Tannenbaum said Thursday. "So, we're going to keep the lines of communication open and make a decision pretty soon here."

Sanchez dislocated his kneecap during the first week of fall practice before his junior season at Southern California. He has worn a brace on the knee since, even in the pros. Sanchez also banged up his left knee against Carolina on Nov. 29.

"You don't want to have anybody miss any time, especially a young quarterback," Tannenbaum said, "but we'll balance it out with a medical procedure that may give him more stability in there and give him a chance to play without any worry about that."

Sanchez's right knee, injured against Buffalo on Dec. 3 in Toronto, will heal through rehabilitation.

"I think everyone's on the same page," Tannenbaum said. "It's not going to be anything major."

Sanchez injured the right knee when he dived headfirst on an 8-yard run early in the third quarter against the Bills. The play came a few days after coach Rex Ryan brought in Yankees manager Joe Girardi to help teach Sanchez how to improve his sliding technique.

He missed one game when Ryan kept him home for the trip to Tampa Bay on Dec. 13, and was replaced by Kellen Clemens. Sanchez returned the following week against Atlanta wearing a brace, and had no apparent signs of injury during the last several weeks of the season.

He helped lead the Jets to the AFC championship game at Indianapolis, playing some of his best football during the playoff run. After throwing 20 interceptions during the regular season, Sanchez had just two in three postseason games and fell a win short of becoming the first rookie quarterback to start in the Super Bowl.

The fifth overall pick last year out of USC, Sanchez finished the regular season throwing for 2,444 yards and 12 touchdowns, but had a dismal 63.0 quarterback rating.

Armed with a color-coded system and numbered plays on his wrist to help him, Sanchez took much better care of the ball down the stretch. He finished the playoffs going 41 of 68 for 539 yards with four touchdowns and a 92.7 rating.

Sanchez also joined Baltimore's Joe Flacco as the only rookie quarterbacks to win two playoff games.

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