NEW YORK — Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was placed on short-term injured reserve Saturday, meaning he will not be able to play for the next eight weeks.
Sanchez injured his right shoulder in the team’s third preseason game against the Giants. He has opted to try to rehabilitate the injury rather than have season-ending surgery.
The exact nature of the injury has not been announced, but some published reports say it is a partially torn labrum.
By placing him on the IR-designated for return, Sanchez must miss the next six weeks of practice and won’t be able to play in a game until after the Jets’ 10th game. The earliest Sanchez could be back is Nov. 17 at Buffalo, following the Jets’ bye week.
Teams can place only one player on short-term IR per season. So, it appears there is a strong feeling in the organization that Sanchez could return to play, if needed, later this season.
On Friday, coach Rex Ryan said it was very possible that Sanchez could be back.
“If we didn’t think it’d be realistic that Mark would get on the field, then he would be put on IR,” Ryan said Friday. “And that’s not the case.”
Geno Smith has started the Jets’ first two games and it appears will continue to be under center while Sanchez is sidelined. Matt Simms and Brady Quinn are the other quarterbacks on the roster.
Sanchez appeared to have an edge in the tightly contested quarterback competition this summer after Smith struggled with three interceptions in the preseason game against the Giants. But, put Sanchez into the game in the fourth quarter of that game, and the quarterback took a crunching hit to his shoulder from Marvin Austin.
Ryan has been heavily criticized for that decision, but has insisted that despite assumptions, Sanchez had not won the quarterback competition at that point. In fact, the coach has never announced a winner for the job.
Sanchez, however, said in an interview with NFL Network before the Jets’ 13-10 loss to the New England Patriots on Thursday that he felt he undoubtedly won the competition.
Sanchez visited Dr. James Andrews this week to take another look at his shoulder, a decision that was agreed upon mutually by the team doctors and the quarterback. He has been throwing passes left-handed during practice and was doing the same Thursday night.
It is believed that Sanchez’s recovery will require resting the shoulder some more before he begins to throw again, which is likely why the Jets decided to put him on IR. With Sanchez at least two months away from playing, it opens up a roster spot.