CORTLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Santonio Holmes jogged slowly from the practice field and headed toward the media tent.
Yep, he jogged. About 100 yards. For the New York Jets wide receiver, he’ll take every little bit of progress he can get.
“Getting better, getting better,” Holmes said Monday. “That’s all I can say at this point.”
It’s still very much up in the air.
Holmes is on the physically unable to perform list while he rehabilitates a left foot injury that has sidelined him since early last season. Holmes has been doing some light jogging and riding a stationary bike during practice. He also used an anti-gravity treadmill to reduce pressure on the foot, but has not been able to get past one major hurdle just yet.
“Right now, I can’t run,” Holmes said. “So I’m continuing to take it day by day, do the necessary things to get better.”
Holmes hurt his foot during Week 4 last season, and had two surgeries, including one in February to remove screws. He suffered what is called a Lisfranc injury, which usually involves separation of ligaments and joints in the middle of the foot.
“It’s still week to week right now,” he said. “I say day to day, but the trainers are saying week to week, continue to progress (every) week and just be ready when the time comes.”
In the best-case scenario for the Jets, that time would be Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But that’s just a little less than four weeks away. And for a guy who makes his living catching passes and outrunning defenders, Holmes still seems a long shot to be ready for the season opener.
“I can’t really count that far ahead right now,” he said. “I have to go with the steps that are in front of me, which is getting better today, look forward to tomorrow, working.”
Coach Rex Ryan echoed Holmes’ comments, saying it’s “too early to know” for sure whether the Jets will have the receiver when the real games start. But Ryan added that he’s “encouraged” by the work Holmes has put in to try to be on the field on Sept. 8.
One published report suggested some people close to the organization might wonder if Holmes could be “milking” his injury to make sure he doesn’t rush himself back in what figures to be a contract year. He has a $10.75 million cap number next year, which means he will likely be released after the season. So, if he re-injures the foot, that could mean a low payday in free agency — if he could even return from another foot injury.
Holmes declined comment when asked about the report, but Ryan vehemently denied that anyone is wary of his effort.
“It’s just the opposite,” Ryan said. “I can tell you this about Holmes: He is doing everything we’ve been asking him to do. He is pushing it like crazy. He’s in phenomenal shape. He’s probably in as good a shape, conditioning-wise, as you can be in.”
Ryan added that he speaks with Holmes each day, and is hopeful he will be able to play at some point this season.
“We knew he was overcoming a major injury,” Ryan said. “But we were always encouraged by the fact he came back here to our building and was working like crazy.”
Holmes has also spent a lot of time this summer helping the younger wide receivers learn the offense, giving them tips on trying to succeed in the NFL and how to constantly improve. It’s also helping him while he can’t be on the field.
“I think it just keeps me on my toes, and (helps me) understand the little things that I can’t do,” Holmes said. “Watching the mistakes that these guys are making and correcting them and writing them down for myself, so I don’t have these setbacks in route running and understanding what to do on the top of the route.”
NOTES: Ryan was surprised by a report in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in which Geno Smith’s former teammates at West Virginia said the team last season never had any leadership. Smith was never named or singled out, but some have speculated the comments are directed at least partly toward the quarterback. “It tells me I’m glad my kid never went there, I can tell you that much,” Ryan said. “I don’t get that. Geno was a tremendous player for West Virginia.” Ryan’s son, Seth, is a freshman walk-on at Clemson. … Smith, despite a mild ankle sprain, practiced for the second straight day. Mark Sanchez took most of the first-team reps instead of Smith as the QB rotation was tweaked, but the team hasn’t decided on who will start against Jacksonville on Saturday night. … RB Chris Ivory (hamstring) was a full participant for the first time all summer, and is a possibility to play against the Jaguars. “He looked excellent,” Ryan said. “That’s a big, powerful man.” … CB Antonio Cromartie hurt his left elbow, but didn’t miss any plays. Third-string QB Greg McElroy limped off the field after he aggravated an ankle injury suffered at Detroit last Friday night.
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