The New York Jets quarterback, competing with rookie Geno Smith for the starting job, left the team's preseason 24-21 overtime victory against the Giants late in the fourth quarter when he took a hard hit in the shoulder after throwing a pass. The team had no immediate word on the nature or severity of the injury.
"We had the starting offense out there for three full quarters and I put Sanchez in, and unfortunately, the best play he makes probably all of preseason, he ends up getting hurt on it," coach Rex Ryan said. "We'll see the severity of the injury later, but it was a tremendous play by him. But that's football. You compete and you go out there and do your best, and obviously it's very unfortunate that he was injured."
Sanchez wasn't available to reporters in the locker room after the game. The Jets said the quarterback had already left MetLife Stadium—despite his clothes still hanging in his locker.
Sanchez appeared in good shape for the Jets' starting quarterback job after a spotty performance by Smith, who got the start but threw three interceptions and stepped out of the end zone on a play for a safety.
From the sideline, it appeared Sanchez was somewhat surprised he was going in because Matt Simms was warming up as if he were next into the game. It seemed a curious move to use Sanchez, especially with the backups playing in front of him.
"That was my decision," Ryan said. "It was the coach's decision all the way.
"You're talking about competing and all week you're talking about winning the game, and competing. That was my decision."
Smith added that he wasn't surprised Sanchez came in so late in the game.
"I think that was kind of planned all along," Smith said.
Sanchez rolled out under heavy pressure and completed a 23-yard pass to Mohamed Massaquoi before having his right shoulder slammed into by Marvin Austin with 5:40 left in the fourth quarter.
"I was hurt when I hit him," Austin said. "I felt it in my chest. I played it off and tried to run off, but it was a pretty hard hit. Hopefully he's healthy. I don't wish anybody to be hurt."
Austin hoped his hit was legal, saying, "If it wasn't, it's going to cost me a lot of money." He also acknowledged he was a bit surprised to see Sanchez in the game at that point.
Sanchez stayed on the turf for a few moments as the team's trainers ran out to check on him. The quarterback got up on his own and flexed his right arm and hand as he headed to the sideline.
He took one practice throw on the sideline and appeared to shake his head, as if to say, "No." Trainers took Sanchez's jersey and pads off on the sideline, and then wrapped his shoulder in ice before taking him to the locker room. He finished 5 of 6 for 72 yards and a lost fumble.
"I understand being second-guessed when an injury happens," Ryan said. "Certainly I understand that. But that's football."
Ryan got testy when asked if it might be considered irresponsible to put a player who would likely be the starting quarterback in the game with players who might not even make the roster.
"Well, that's an assumption on your part," Ryan said. "I can understand that that's your assumption. This team will make the call on the starting quarterback when we think it's appropriate, and we've said that since Day 1. To me, obviously, we've talked about the competition, and that was something I thought was important.
"I would not have put Mark in there if it wasn't important."
Ryan also revealed that cornerback Antonio Cromartie "bothered his hip" early in the game, and didn't return. But Ryan didn't go into details on that injury.
Left guard Vladimir Ducasse was taken to the locker room late in the first quarter with what appeared to be an injury to his right foot or leg. He was replaced by rookie Brian Winters.
Giants safety Stevie Brown sprained his left knee on an interception return late in the first quarter and had to be helped off the field.
Brown, who led the team with eight interceptions last season, tied for second in the NFL, appeared to be hurt when he was tackled after a 22-yard return. The four-year veteran could not put any weight on his leg.
The Giants also lost backup cornerback Jayron Hosley with a sprained ankle in the quarter.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin had no immediate updates on his team's injuries.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org