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Ryan wants to see Sanchez practice before making decision

New York Jets quarterback Kellen Clemens (11), and

New York Jets quarterback Kellen Clemens (11), and New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6), chat briefly during warmups before a game against the New York Giants. Credit: Photo by John Dunn

Coach Rex Ryan said he will have to wait and see how quarterback Mark Sanchez performs Wednesday in practice before he makes a decision on the rookie's status for Sunday's must-win game against Atlanta.

During a conference call yesterday, the coach said the rookie will split reps during practice with backup Kellen Clemens.

Though it's likely Sanchez will be named the starter, Ryan said he will not rush him back to action.

"I feel good about him playing," Ryan said. "I felt good about him playing last Monday. When I talked to the doctors, it ended up being in the best interests of Mark not to play. I think this week we'll see."

Sanchez, who suffered a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against the Bills on Dec. 3, didn't make the trip to Tampa over the weekend. Instead, he rehabbed and received treatment for 10 hours a day, Ryan said.

About time

It took 13 games, but Kerry Rhodes finally impressed Ryan. Rhodes, who started Sunday's game against Tampa Bay as part of a three-safety look with Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith, helped shut down tight end Kellen Winslow and also picked up his third interception with a leaping grab in the fourth quarter.

"Kerry Rhodes played his best game since I've been here," Ryan said. "He was tremendous."

Jet streams

Ryan said there "absolutely" will be ramifications for linebacker Bart Scott, whose 15-yard unnecessary-roughness penalty in the 26-3 win over the Bucs led to a 43-yard field goal that spoiled the Jets' shutout . . . The Jets waived OT Ryan McKee . . . Ryan allowed his players to enjoy "Victory Monday" by giving them the day off.

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