Sources: Surgery likely for Sanchez
Dr. James Andrews confirmed Wednesday that Mark Sanchez has a labral tear in his right shoulder, and the New York Jets quarterback is "likely to have surgery" that would end his 2013 season, according to team and league sources, as well as a source close to Sanchez.
Sanchez still was trying to make a final decision on whether to have the surgery now to repair the tear and instability in the shoulder following his injury in the team's third preseason game, the sources said.
Sanchez could opt to rehab the shoulder in an effort to play at some point this season, sources said, but still likely would need surgery at the end of the year.
Sanchez, replying to a text message, told ESPN late Wednesday night: "If I needed surgery right now, I never would have left Andrews' office. I would've stayed and got the surgery." Asked if he wanted to deny that he was likely to have surgery, Sanchez texted: "There's nothing to report. It's reckless."
A source close to the quarterback said it would make no sense for Sanchez to delay the inevitable under the circumstances of the injury and the team's commitment to rookie Geno Smith.
Sanchez, who saw Dr. Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Fla., is expected to make the decision on surgery within the next day or two, sources said.
A labrum will not heal itself; once it is torn, it is torn until it is repaired. The question is whether a player can function adequately despite the tear. It is not a career-threatening injury.
When Sanchez was injured Aug. 24, while playing behind a second-team offensive line, he appeared to be on the verge of claiming the starting job after a training camp battle with Smith.
The injury led to criticism of coach Rex Ryan, who claimed he played Sanchez with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter against the Giants because he wanted to win the preseason game. Owner Woody Johnson even hinted that Sanchez was partly to blame for the injury, saying the veteran failed to protect himself.
Smith, a second-pick now firmly entrenched as the club's future signal-caller, won the first start of his career in Sunday's 18-17 victory over Tampa Bay. The rookie led a late drive aided by a key penalty for the winning score. He did have a fumble that led to a score and an interception, but was solid for the most part and finished 24 of 38 for 256 yards and a touchdown while leading the team with 47 yards rushing.
The Jets visit the New England Patriots on Thursday night.
Information from ESPN injury analyst Stephania Bell was used in this report.