Santonio Holmes’ comeback appears closer than it did just a few days ago.
The veteran wide receiver was moved to the New York Jets’ active roster from the physically unable to perform list on Friday night, a promising sign that he could be ready for the start of the regular season.
The move means Holmes has been cleared by team doctors to practice and has passed his physical. He is not expected to play in the team’s exhibition game against the Giants on Saturday night.
Holmes has been sidelined since last September with a seriously injured left foot that left his playing status uncertain. On Wednesday, Holmes said his foot bothers him every day when he wakes up and "this pain doesn’t go away."
He recently told reporters he hadn’t even begun to run, but video from a fan in the stands at SUNY Cortland surfaced later that day with the receiver running at three-quarters speed on the sideline.
Last Saturday night, Holmes ran at full speed and caught a few passes from Geno Smith in warmups before the team’s preseason game against Jacksonville.
But he downplayed that, saying he wasn’t planting his feet or cutting the way he needs to.
"I’m not able to be at Santonio Holmes’ level of competition," he said Wednesday, "so right now, it’s just going with what I can give."
Just a day later, his recovery appeared to be progressing as he repeatedly ran short routes and planted on his foot during practice Thursday. He had spent most of training camp riding a stationary bike, using an anti-gravity treadmill and working with trainers.
By being placed on the active roster now, it leaves open the possibility Holmes could play in the regular-season opener against Tampa Bay on Sept. 8.
That seemed a longshot just a few days ago when Holmes said he was "excited" about his progress, but said he hadn’t even been thinking about a timetable for a return.
Holmes suffered a Lisfranc injury, which usually involves separation of ligaments and joints in the middle of the foot, against San Francisco in Week 4 last season. He needed surgery to repair the injury, and then had another procedure in February to remove the screws.
The Jets’ receiving group would get a huge lift if Holmes is ready to go at the start of the season. New York has Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill slated as starters, with Clyde Gates, Braylon Edwards, Ben Obomanu, undrafted free agent Ryan Spadola and recently signed Mohamed Massaquoi among those competing for the final few spots at the position.
In a corresponding move Friday night, the Jets also released wide receiver Marcus Davis with an injury settlement. Earlier Friday, the Jets signed offensive lineman Jason Smith, who spent last season with New York, and released center Scott Wedige.