Sanchez rehab heads to treadmill

Mark Sanchez took another important step Thursday in his recovery from knee surgery. The Jets quarterback ran on a treadmill for the first time since his Feb. 17 surgery, two people familiar with the situation confirmed to ESPNNewYork.com.

Sanchez worked out with a trainer Thursday at USC, his alma mater. He couldn't be reached for comment, but Sanchez told a friend that it "went well." It was first reported by the NFL Network.

Sanchez said recently his goal was to start running in mid-May, give or take a week, so Thursday's development puts him slightly ahead of schedule.
Previously, his only running took place on an underwater treadmill at the Jets' facility in Florham Park, N.J., where he had been rehabbing.

Rex Ryan, speaking at last weekend's rookie minicamp, expressed hope that Sanchez would be able to participate in the mandatory minicamp June 14-16.
The team never has given a specific timetable on his anticipated return, except to say he'd be 100 percent for training camp Aug. 1.

"We're certainly not going to rush him all the way back, but he's doing everything," Ryan said last weekend. "He's itching to go. He can't stand it. He's thrown the ball some. He looks great. He's doing everything that we ask him to do and he's going to be just fine. It's really going to be disappointing to him if he can't come back and do some of those minicamps or OTAs (organized team activities). I'd love to see him do that last minicamp, if at all possible."

After the season, Sanchez underwent elective surgery to strengthen the patella ligament in his left knee. He originally hurt that knee in August 2008, before his final season at USC. He wore a brace on the knee last season as a rookie with the Jets, but his ultimate hope is to be able to play without the brace.

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.