If there was any lingering doubt about Mark Sanchez's status for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears, it's gone now.
The New York Jets' quarterback, coming off a Friday practice in which he pushed his sore throwing shoulder, didn't suffer any significant setbacks and is clear to start the potential playoff-clinching game in Chicago.
On Friday, New York head coach Rex Ryan expressed confidence that Sanchez would start, indicating the only potential snag would be if the quarterback's right shoulder responded poorly overnight after the final practice of the week. That apparently didn't happen.
There never was serious doubt about Sanchez's status for the game, but Ryan created a mini-panic Thursday by stating there was an 80 percent chance Sanchez would start - down from 99 percent the previous day.
Sanchez's teammates never doubted him. Even offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer indicated Thursday that he expected Sanchez to play.
Sanchez underwent an MRI exam Monday after taking a hard hit to the shoulder in last Sunday's win at the Pittsburgh Steelers. The MRI was negative, according to the Jets, but there was some small cartilage damage. Doctors believe that damage was caused by cumulative wear and tear over the years.