FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - Mark Sanchez is hoping to return for the start of the regular season.
The New York Jets quarterback, dealing with a shoulder injury, rode a stationary bike at practice Monday but didn't participate in any throwing drills. He has been ruled out for the team's final preseason game Thursday against Philadelphia, and won't practice until Friday at the earliest.
``I'm a little sore,'' Sanchez said. ``I have an injured shoulder here, so I'll just take it day to day and keep rehabbing and try to get back as soon as possible.''
During the 30-minute window that reporters are allowed to watch, Sanchez was among a group off to the side of the practice field and had his right arm at his side as he pedaled.
Neither Sanchez nor coach Rex Ryan would go into details of the injury or the rehabilitation process. The Jets announced Sunday only that Sanchez is ``day-to-day'' with an injured shoulder.
Still, Sanchez is hoping to be ready to go when the team opens the regular season at home on Sept. 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
``That's in all of our plans,'' he said. ``I'm trying to get back as soon as possible, and be able to practice as soon as possible.''
Sanchez, who appeared in good shape to beat out rookie Geno Smith for the starting job, was hurt late in the fourth quarter when he took a hard hit in the shoulder from Giants defensive lineman Marvin Austin after he completed a pass.
Sanchez stayed on the turf, clutching his shoulder and writhing in pain for a few moments as the team's trainers ran out to check on him. When he eventually got up, the quarterback flexed his right arm and hand as he headed to the sideline. He took a practice throw on the sideline and appeared to shake his head ``No.'' Trainers wrapped his shoulder in ice before taking him to the locker room.
Ryan has taken a lot of heat from media and fans since making the decision to bringing in Sanchez that late in the game behind an offensive line made up of backups. It also appeared Sanchez was a bit surprised on the sideline to come into the game at that point.
``If they call your number, you got to play,'' he said. ``That's what I do and that's what I've always done. They said to be ready to play and I was ready to play.''
Both Ryan and Smith said that was the plan all along, to have Sanchez follow the rookie during the game. While it was the second-team offense, it was similar to the line Sanchez played with in the third quarter of last week's win over Jacksonville. It still seemed somewhat curious why Sanchez - who many assumed had moved ahead in the competition - would be put in at that point.
``I'm a competitor,'' Sanchez said. ``And, as a player, it's not my job to worry about when you're going in or who's in, whatever, what string, this or that. If they call your number, you've got to play. That's what I do, and that's what I've always done.''
Sanchez also refused to criticize Ryan's decision to play him when he did.
``I'm not here to second-guess the coaches,'' he said. ``If they call you to play, you better be ready to play. And I was.''
Ryan reiterated that he didn't think he had made a mistake playing Sanchez when he did. After the game, the coach insisted that if it wasn't ``important,'' he wouldn't have put him in.
``You guys know exactly how I feel about that,'' Ryan said. ``Do I regret that he got injured? Of course. But, no, again - I'm not going to say anything more about it because I think I've covered it already.''
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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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