NFL Media's Albert Breer reported late Wednesday that Sanchez has a torn labrum in his right (throwing) shoulder, according to a source informed of the diagnosis. Surgery is a possibility, but the quarterback still is exploring other options following his Wednesday visit with Dr. James Andrews.
A person with direct knowledge of the injury told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport that Sanchez's current plan is to rehab the shoulder, though there is a thought surgery will happen eventually -- either during the season or after.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen had the first report of a confirmed labrum tear, which Sanchez suffered when he took a hit to the shoulder during the fourth quarter of an Aug. 24 preseason game against the New York Giants.
"If I needed surgery right now, I never would have left Andrews' office," Sanchez wrote. "I would've stayed and got the surgery."
The diagnosis is another serious setback in the quarterback's once-promising career. Despite his struggles over the last two seasons, Sanchez appeared to be in line to be the Jets' starter before going down against the Giants.
Jets coach Rex Ryan was roundly criticized for inserting Sanchez late in a preseason game behind a second-team offensive line. The Jets originally called Sanchez's injury day to day, but it quickly became clear that it was more serious than the team was letting on.
If Sanchez's 2013 season indeed is lost, it's a near certainty he has played his last snap with the Jets, a team he helped lead to back-to-back AFC Championship Game appearances in his first two NFL seasons.
With rookie Geno Smith coming off a Week 1 victory, it would be seen as a step backward to re-insert Sanchez into the starting lineup. Now it appears Sanchez's health could make that option a moot point.