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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After just eight handoffs in his brief start against the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez said his right shoulder was "pretty sore."
That soreness remains after a week of very light work during practice in the week leading up to the game. After the 38-7 win over the Bills, Sanchez was asked if his doctors have talked about the possibility of surgery in the offseason.
"They bounced ideas around," Sanchez said. "But it's so far in advance hopefully we're not talking about it for another month."
Sanchez has some cartilage damage, but it isn't clear if it's problematic or just natural wear and tear. The second-year quarterback said that his physicians have assured him that he isn't doing further damage to his shoulder by continuing to play through the injury.
"The doctors would have said something about that first," Sanchez said.
Sanchez initially injured his shoulder when he fell awkwardly in Pittsburgh trying to run the ball. A week later after a loss to Chicago he said the shoulder was "very sore," and said it was "pretty sore" after the game Sunday.
Sanchez said he will be ready to play when the Jets face host Indianapolis at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday in the first round of the playoffs.
"I'm going to play -- it's not a big deal," Sanchez said.
Sanchez was replaced in the game by 40-year-old backup Mark Brunell, who threw touchdown passes to wide receivers Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes. The scoring pass to Holmes was the first Brunell had made since 2006. Brunell also threw an interception.
The Jets then used wide receiver Brad Smith at quarterback. Smith played the position at Missouri. Kellen Clemens ran the ball for a touchdown in the fourth quarter when he came in at the spot.
Sanchez said he had an idea that he wouldn't play much going into the Bills game, and that he wouldn't be passing the ball. After the Chicago loss, coach Rex Ryan was leaning toward resting his starter, but he seemed to rethink that as the week went along. By Thursday, Ryan announced that Sanchez was starting and that it was a matter of keeping his head in the game.
"I never wanted him to get hit or anything else," Ryan said. "It was one of those things that we weren't going to throw the football with him. We accomplished everything we wanted during the week. We kept his preparation the same way."
Sunday, Ryan opted to rest a number of starters, including running backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene, and cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie.
Asked what the point of starting was if he played just one series and made eight handoffs, Sanchez showed his sense of humor was fully intact.
"Keeping the streak alive," he said with a smile. "Lookout, Brett."Jane McManus is a reporter and columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.