Ryan: Sanchez likely ahead of schedule

New York Jets coach Rex Ryan thinks quarterback Mark Sanchez's recovery from offseason knee surgery might be a bit ahead of schedule.

Sanchez had the patella-stabilizing ligament in his left knee repaired in February, and he has participated in individual and passing drills since organized team activities began last Monday.

"He's doing fantastic,'' Ryan said Thursday. "He's probably ahead of where we thought he'd be.''

Sanchez also surprised Ryan when he sneaked onto the field during 11-on-11 team drills for the first time this offseason, but it was only for one handoff.

"I was like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa! What's he doing?''' said Ryan, who added it was unplanned. "It's a run. Oh, OK. … Hand the ball off, and get out of the way.''

That's exactly what Sanchez did, as he stood behind the offense for most of the rest of the practice session.

"I'm waiting,'' Ryan said. "When our trainers say he's ready to roll and all that, that's when he'll go in there. He feels great. I think he's pushing us all the time to get in there and that's where you want him to be.''

Sanchez was given the day off from speaking with the media, but he has said – along with Ryan – that he expects to be 100 percent in time for training camp, if not minicamp next month.

The second-year quarterback has said he understands the need for caution. Sanchez, who led the Jets to the AFC championship game as a rookie, began running on grass a few weeks ago after being limited to jogging in a pool and then on a treadmill.

Sanchez looked good in passing drills Thursday, throwing several sharp passes and moving around well without a brace on the knee.

Backup quarterback Kellen Clemens has run the first-team offense while Sanchez is unable to fully practice.