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Sanchez "planning" on playing

Looks like Mark Sanchez is ready to get back in the saddle.

Although the Jets' rookie quarterback was officially limited in today's practice along with DE Shaun Ellis and CB Dwight Lowery, Sanchez said he was able to do everything the coaching staff asked of him without a hitch.

So barring an overnight setback, it's a pretty good bet Sanchez's sprained right PCL has healed sufficiently enough for him to take the snap from center Nick Mangold sometime after 1 p.m. Sunday when the Jets host the Falcons.

"Yeah, I'm planning on it," Sanchez said when I asked him if he's going to play Sunday. "I fely good today. We'll see how it goes. We're playing it day-to-day and we'll talk with the doctors again tomorrow. But I feel confident."

Sanchez wore a lightweight brace on his right knee but isn't sure if he'll wear two braces Sunday. The sleeveless Sanchez -- yes, he went without sleeves in the 30-degree temps "thicken out my blood," he said -- split the reps 50-50 with Kellen Clemens and the biggest thing now is seeing how he feels when he wakes up in the morning.

It's been nearly two weeks since Sanchez has played, and despite all the lengthy rehab hours he was putting in, nothing can substitute actually being on the field and going through practice. So the staff wanted to see Sanchez turn around and hand the ball off hand to the running backs, whip accurate passes around during passing drills and go through some escapability drills.

He came out of everything fine and understands the importance of being upfront with the coaching staff about his health, especially since he knows he'll feel Rex Ryan's wrath if he doesn't.

"He knows that I'll be honest with him," Sanchez said. "If something hurts, I'll tell him. If I'm not ready and I'm going to do the team a disservice or myself a disservice, then we need to make a change or something. But he knows we'll play it by ear and see how I'm doing tomorrow. Everything is fine there. He trusts me and I trust him. I know he's trying to protect me, so as much as I appreciate it and as much as I want to play, I need to just balance those and understand I need to do what's right for the team."

Sanchez said he followed along in the Jets' 26-3 pummeling of the Bucs on Sunday, going over his play sheet to see what plays might be/were called. He also studied the defensive looks the Buccaneers were throwing at the offense, even rewinding his TiVo machine so he could get an exact gauge.

"Mixed emotions," he said. "I'm excited for the team. I'm thrilled for them. It's another big win and I'm happy for Kellen and he deserves that. He's watched all season long, and he's been very helpful and it was a great chance for him to get out there and play. At the same time, it was killing me. I want to be on the field and it was hard to see the guys leave on the plane, and then go on the trip and know Saturday night, they are in the hotel in meetings.

"But I was excited for them."

Not as excited as he'll feel Sunday, though, when he's back at the helm.

New York Sports