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Mark Sanchez to undergo surgery on left knee

An Associated Press source says Jets quarterback Mark

An Associated Press source says Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez had his right knee examined by Dr. James Andrews. (January 24, 2010) Photo Credit: MCT

Mark Sanchez's decision is in. The Jets quarterback has opted to have surgery on his left knee. Sanchez is expected to have an elective procedure to strengthen and stabilize the ligaments around his patella tendon.

Team orthopedists Dr. Kenneth Montgomery and Dr. Elliott Hershman will perform the surgery, probably within the next few weeks, given Sanchez will need at least eight weeks of recovery time.

General manager Mike Tannenbaum said last week he was confident Sanchez would be ready well before training camp in July, but indicated he would miss a portion of the Jets' offseason conditioning program that begins in late March.

Sanchez visited Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., a week ago, and the renowned orthopedist checked both of Sanchez's knees. Andrews recommended surgery on the left knee, not the right one Sanchez hurt diving headfirst Dec. 3.

The surgery isn't necessarily a must for Sanchez, but by strengthening the area around the patella tendon, the Jets are hopeful it will help prevent further damage to the knee he injured before his junior season at USC and tweaked again in a 17-6 win over Carolina on Nov. 29. His right knee will be rehabbed but does not require surgery.

Sanchez dislocated his left kneecap in August 2008 and played that season with a brace. He also wore a brace on the knee for protection, and played with braces on both knees Dec. 20 against the Falcons. That was his first game after sitting out a 26-3 win over the Bucs to continue rehabilitating his right knee.

Sanchez moved around well during the Jets' postseason run, compiling a 92.7 rating. He completed 41 of 68 passes for 539 yards, threw for four touchdowns and two interceptions in becoming only the fourth rookie quarterback since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 to start a conference championship game.

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