HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) – Jets quarterback Chad Pennington underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder, and the team is optimistic he will be ready for the 2006 season.

The surgery was performed Thursday by orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., the team said Friday.

Andrews repaired a small rotator cuff tear, the anterior capsule and labrum. Pennington will begin rehabilitation immediately.

“He’s fine. He’s upbeat. He’s good,” coach Herman Edwards said.

Pennington was injured Sept. 25 against the Jacksonville Jaguars when he was sacked on consecutive plays. This is the second straight season the sixth-year player has torn his rotator cuff. Last season, Pennington tore it in November but returned to lead the Jets to the playoffs.

“I think he thinks in his mind that whatever it takes to come back, he is going to do,” Edwards said. “So, that’s his mind-set. It has always been his mind-set.”

That’s what makes him so special.”

Edwards said the team still hasn’t decided whether to put Pennington on injured reserve, which would end his season. He plans on meeting with Pennington and team doctor Elliot Pellman to determine a recovery period.

When he was asked about Pennington’s status for next season, Edwards also hedged.

“I’m optimistic, ” Edwards said. “I’ve kind of talked to him, but I’m waiting to visit with Chad when he gets here, sit down with doc and round-table with those guys. I rather talk to Chad face to face then through the phone.”

The Jets also must consider the financial ramifications. The Jets signed Pennington to a seven-year, $67 million deal before the start of last season. He received an $18 million signing bonus and another $2 million guaranteed, and is due a $3 million roster bonus in March.

Pennington is scheduled to count $15 million against the cap in 2006, but that is almost certain to be restructured.

Backup quarterback Jay Fiedler is also out with a shoulder injury, but the Jets anticipate he may be able to return this season. Without Pennington and Fiedler, the Jets have turned to 41-year-old Vinny Testaverde, who will start Sunday against Tampa Bay.

AP-ES-10-07-05 1602EDT


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