FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Mark Sanchez is bracing himself for the rest of his career.
The New York Jets quarterback will wear a protective brace on his surgically repaired left knee "probably forever" to guard against future injuries after a scare in a preseason game last Saturday.
"I really want to wear it," Sanchez sarcastically said Tuesday. "No, we've been joking back and forth. I think I kind of lucked out the other night."
"I had him put the brace on after I saw that thing," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "It was close. He couldn't step up and the guy's helmet was here. I was like, 'That's enough.' That's why he's putting it on."
Sanchez had the patella-stabilizing ligament in his left knee repaired in February and had been wearing a sleeve over it during camp. He has worn a brace in most games since dislocating his kneecap before his junior season at USC.
"It's not even worth having other problems," Sanchez said. "My knee feels great. It's just a precautionary thing."
Sanchez first sported the bulky brace at practice Monday and now will wear it during all future games and practices.
"It's just a matter of getting used to it again," the second-year pro said. "I wore it growing up, I've worn it in school (and) all last year. It's really not that bad. It's really not that bad. It's more of a mental thing. I just don't like wearing it."
Sanchez even consulted with veteran backup quarterback Mark Brunell, who has worn a knee brace throughout his career.
"I was hoping he'd say, 'Nah, you don't need it,'" Sanchez said. "And I could then say, 'Hey, Brunell has played forever and he never had a problem.' But he wore it for 14 years, so it's not going to work."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press