Don't push the panic button or sound the alarm just yet.
But it appears as if QB Mark Sanchez could opt for an elective surgical procedure to stabilize the patella ligament in his left knee -- not the right one that he initially injured against Buffalo Dec. 3.
Sanchez got both knees examined by Dr. James Andrews during his visit to see the renowned orthopedic specialist in Birmingham, Ala. yesterday. It was originally thought that the right knee the rookie quarterback initially injured against the Bills was the one Andrews checked out. But Andrews examined both, offering up a second opinion after Sanchez was first checked out by Jets team physician Dr. Kenneth Montgomery.
Sanchez dislocated his left kneecap in August of his junior season at USC and played the entire season with a knee brace as a precaution. The right knee, injured during that headfirst dive to get the first down early in the second half against the Bills in Toronto, doesn't require any surgery. All Sanchez has to do with that one is strictly rehab it.
The surgery, from what I understand, isn't something that Sanchez must have. Rather, it's something that's recommended. By strengthening the ligament, it would help minimize the possibility of Sanchez "tweaking" the knee, which apparently happened a few times during his rookie campaign.
"I would just say there may have been some small tweaks along the way, but if there's any procedure, it won't be anything significant," general manager Mike Tannenbaum said. "It's going to be much more of a rehab situation. More preventative, strengthening, things like that."
Sanchez is currently weighing his options and is expected to decide sometime in the near future -- ie: next couple of weeks -- if it's something he wants to do. Should he go ahead and have the surgery, he probably would need roughly at least eight weeks of recovery time.
So let's just say he decided to have the surgery the week after the Feb. 7 Super Bowl. That means he would miss the beginning of the offseason conditioning program, which begins in late March.
Even though Tannenbaum said Sanchez would be ready well before training camp in July, there's a good chance he probably wouldn't be done rehabbing and able to go by the time the first OTAs roll around at the end of April and first few weeks of May.
"I love the offseason program," Tannenbaum said. "You don't want to have anybody miss any time. But we'll balance it out with a medical prodecure that may give him more stability in there and give him a chance to play without any worry about that whatsoever. Those are judgment calls that we have to make and really look at what's going to give him the best chance to be successful over the whole season."