New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is listed as day-to-day with an injured right shoulder, the team announced Sunday -- but his availability for the season opener remains in doubt, according to sources.
The Jets provided no other details except to say that Sanchez won't play Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Jets' final preseason game. But he wasn't expected to play anyway, as coach Rex Ryan never uses his starters in the finale.
Sanchez underwent an MRI exam Sunday and has a bruised right shoulder joint, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. The source said the team will not know how long Sanchez will be sidelined until he resumes throwing.
Sanchez appeared to be on the verge of claiming the starting job, thanks to a three-interception implosion Saturday night by Smith, but the injury muddles the quarterback competition.
The day-to-day characterization indicates the injury isn't serious, which may relieve some of the heat on Ryan, who is facing a torrent of criticism for inserting Sanchez behind the second-team offensive line with 11 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of a 24-21 overtime win over the New York Giants.
Sanchez, in his second series, was leveled by Marvin Austin as he scrambled outside the pocket. Sanchez went down hard, clutching his shoulder and grimacing in pain.
Trainers iced his shoulder, and he went to the locker room for an X-ray. He left the stadium without talking to reporters. Sanchez was said to be experiencing considerable discomfort after the game.
Ryan turned defensive in his postgame news conference, claiming he put Sanchez in the game because he wanted to beat the Giants. Sanchez didn't expect to go in the game, sources said.
If Sanchez isn't ready for the opener, the Jets will have to use Smith, who showed in his first extended outing that he isn't ready for the job. He completed 16 of 30 passes for 199 yards but threw three interceptions in a span of 12 attempts. He also made a big mental mistake, taking a safety by stepping out of the back of the end zone as he tried to escape mild pressure.
After the game, a testy Ryan refused to tip his hand regarding the quarterback decision.
"Hey, I'll make that call," Ryan said. "I don't have to answer a question. I'll answer it the way I said. And from day one, I said we'll make the announcement of a starting quarterback when we think it's the appropriate time."