By Abby Sims
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So, Mark Sanchez is evidently opting for the chance-it-and-see approach with the labral tear in his throwing shoulder. If you’d read my post on Matt Harvey – who also faces a surgery-now or possibly later decision – you’d be as skeptical as I.
Sanchez may have been on his way out even with a healthy shoulder. But regardless, that debate is moot. Injured he will miss out on much or all of this season – if he opts for rehab alone – even if he succeeds in restoring sufficient function and performance. What’s the point? If he is miraculously able to return, Sanchez would certainly be relegated to back-up status. Geno Smith will get his reps and, hopefully for the Jets, grow into his role gracefully. The first win was a welcome to the league gift from the Buccaneers.
If Sanchez finds by season’s end that – though he may feel pretty good day-to-day – his shoulder doesn’t cut it throwing repetitively and for distance, then he’ll face another six to nine months of rehab following surgery. That could put him back on the field sometime next summer. At best. It takes a while for a throwing shoulder to get into competitive shape.
So what if Phil Simms had a great year playing with a labral tear in 1993? That is not the norm; it is probably a notable exception. The nature of the tears may differ as well – that is something about which only the medical staff may be aware. And if, as was reported, Sanchez also suffered a dislocation when he went down in the pre-season, the instability in his shoulder is greater than that caused by an isolated labral tear. There would be other issues in play. Without all the facts, the two quarterbacks’ injuries cannot be compared.
Sanchez might be wise to rethink things. If he goes under the knife now, he is certain to avoid the lengthy cross-his-fingers-period. Of course, even surgery offers no promises – complications are always possible – but even pitchers can come back from labral procedures.
Though he is working on a long and lucrative contract after receiving an extension in 2012 (with $20.5 million having been guaranteed for 2012 and 2013), Sanchez is clearly not the quarterback of the Jets future. If he wants to salvage a back-up role for next season, even if for another team, he might be wise to get on with things now.
Follow Abby on Twitter @abcsims.