Sanchez to have surgery

Updated: February 2, 2010, 4:00 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez will have surgery on his left knee and is expected to be ready in time for training camp.

The team said Tuesday that the operation, which will repair the patella ligament that holds the kneecap in place, will be performed by Jets physician Dr. Ken Montgomery and orthopedist Dr. Elliott Hershman in the next few weeks.

Sanchez, who led the Jets to the AFC title game in his rookie season, will miss some offseason workouts but general manager Mike Tannenbaum has said the quarterback would be completely healthy by the start of training camp in July if he had surgery.

The Daily News of New York first reported Sanchez's decision to have surgery.

Sanchez won't need any procedures on the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, which he sprained earlier this season.

He had both knees examined by team doctors this week and also was evaluated last week by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. The procedure is expected to help prevent future tweaks to the kneecap area.

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

"You don't want to have anybody miss any time, especially a young quarterback," Tannenbaum said last week, "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 the Buffalo Bills 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 the Atlanta Falcons 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 and played 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 play 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's ball security improved dramatically 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 the Baltimore Ravens' Joe Flacco as the only rookie quarterbacks to win two playoff games.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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