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Jets' quarterback Sanchez has sprained knee

Mark Sanchez's headfirst dive gave the New York Jets a big first down — and a huge scare.

Rest easy, Rex. The Sanchise isn't seriously injured.

Sanchez might be able to play in New York's next game after spraining the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the Jets' 19-13 win over Buffalo on Thursday night. Coach Rex Ryan said an MRI exam Friday revealed the severity of the injury, which could have been much worse.

"I feel good that it sounds like he's going to be healthy," Ryan said. "I think that is the best news we could've hoped for."

Ryan said Sanchez will initially wear a brace to stabilize the knee, and is optimistic the rookie could be ready to go against the Buccaneers at Tampa Bay on Dec. 13. Since the Jets played Thursday, they have 10 days before their next game — giving Sanchez extra time to heal. That could be good news for the Jets (6-6), who kept their slim playoff hopes alive with the win over the Bills.

"We'll see how he is during the week," Ryan said, "but it was encouraging news."

Sanchez was injured when he dived headfirst on an 8-yard run early in the third quarter. He was examined by trainers on the sideline and replaced by Kellen Clemens before he made his way with a slight limp to the locker room.

Despite that session, Sanchez went headfirst instead of feet first on the play he was injured, and defended his actions after the game.

"In the heat of the moment, I don't know how else to explain it, I was really trying to get a first down and advance the chains," Sanchez said. "That's just the way I play."

Ryan was angry and frustrated by Sanchez's decision, calling him a "knucklehead" after the game. The coach said he hadn't spoken to Sanchez yesterday but didn't back down from his initial comments.

"Everything I mentioned is for the safety of him," Ryan said. "I want him to be around a long time. I think my comments and all that, it's because I care about him."

Ryan said he would actually have preferred Sanchez to not get the first down over risking injury on a headfirst dive.

"It's weird for me to say that, but it's the truth," he said. "More than anything, I want him to be healthy."

» Wide receiver DeSean Jackson and three other Philadelphia Eagles have been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons. Jackson, who leads the Eagles with eight touchdowns this season, suffered a concussion in last week's win over the Washington Redskins. "He felt pretty good (Friday), but he's not all the way back yet," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "He still has some normal headaches." Jackson, wide receiver Kevin Curtis (knee), running back Brian Westbrook (concussion) and linebacker Akeem Jordan (knee) were ruled out by Reid after practice.

» Houston could be without running back Steve Slaton, who missed practice yesterday with an injured right shoulder. Slaton has struggled with the injury for about three weeks and has been experiencing numbness in his right thumb.

» Linebacker Joey Porter has been added to the Miami Dolphins' injury report with a sore knee and is listed as questionable for tomorrow's game against New England. Porter has been bothered much of the season by an injury to his right knee and hamstring. He sat out yesterday's drills after practicing earlier this week.

» The Seahawks declared running back Julius Jones ready to start again yesterday, the same day his backup got hurt in practice. Coach Jim Mora said Jones has recovered from the bruised lung that had him out of Seattle's last two games.

» Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith has been fined $12,500 for a hit on Indianapolis tight end Dallas Clark. Smith was given the fine for hitting Clark away from the play on an interception return by Brian Cushing in Houston's 35-27 loss to the Colts on Sunday.

» Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Jeremy Thompson was hospitalized for testing yesterday after suffering a neck injury in a collision with running back Kregg Lumpkin during practice. Thompson remained conscious after the neck stinger.

» Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Winfield, tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and running back Chester Taylor are among the Minnesota Vikings listed as questionable for tomorrow's game at Arizona.

DIGITS

7 — Sacks by Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter this season

31 — Eagles sack total so far this season

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