Santonio Holmes is hamstrung by another injury – and a lack of chemistry with his starting quarterback.
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The New York Jets wide receiver is dealing with a strained hamstring that will likely keep him out of at least the team’s game at Atlanta on Monday night. That’s a setback for the still-developing on-field relationship between him and rookie Geno Smith.
Holmes surprisingly wasn’t a major part of the offense in the Jets’ 38-13 loss at Tennessee last Sunday. He had just one catch despite being on the field for 49 plays before suffering the hamstring injury.
”It’s the offense’s job,” Holmes said Thursday. ”I can’t throw it to myself and catch it, otherwise I would. I just have to do my part, which is the position that I’m playing, which is primary `X’ receiver and a lot of times you get double-covered, get taken out of the play.
”The progression and the reads from the quarterback have to go elsewhere.”
The comments were similar to ones made a few weeks ago by Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks, who caused some controversy after a 38-0 loss to Carolina when he also said, ”I can’t throw it to myself.”
Holmes missed most of last season with a foot injury, but made it back to play in the season opener. He was coming off a career-best 154 yards receiving against Buffalo before being injured at Tennessee, and it appeared he and Smith might be getting closer to being on the same page.
Holmes is fourth on the team with 10 catches for 243 yards and a touchdown. But now, he could be out a few weeks.
”Not frustrating at all,” he insisted. ”It’s just something I have to deal with. Coach (Rex Ryan) told me to look at it as if it’s a part of the rehab. I came back feeling 100 percent and ready to play in the first game, and there became some give and take throughout the process of making a return.
”Not having the offseason really affected the condition of (my) body, which I never thought about until now.”
He missed all of offseason training and preseason before finally stepping back onto the practice field shortly before the regular season began.
Holmes suffered a Lisfranc injury, which usually involves separation of ligaments and joints in the middle of the foot, against San Francisco last Sept. 30. He needed surgery to repair the injury, and then had another procedure in February to remove the screws. The rehabilitation process was arduous, and Holmes said as recently as two weeks ago that he wouldn’t consider himself close to being 100 percent healthy.
Almost exactly a year to the day of that injury – one day shy, in fact – Holmes is facing more time in the trainers’ room.
”I’ve been there quite some time,” Holmes said with a smile. ”I’ve made some really good friends in the training room. The guys are always happy to see me in the mornings. So it’s been fun being around those guys and understanding what their job description is to help us recover fast and get back on the field.”
The Jets could be short-handed at Atlanta at the receiver position if Holmes and Stephen Hill, recovering from a concussion, both don’t play. New York signed former Buffalo wide receiver David Nelson on Wednesday to help fill the potential void.
”My hamstring feels like it hurts,” Holmes said. ”If it makes sense, that’s exactly how it feels right now.”
Running back Chris Ivory (hamstring), cornerback Dee Milliner (hamstring), tight end Kellen Winslow (knee) and tackle Oday Aboushi (knee) joined Holmes and Hill as players who did not practice Thursday. Wide receiver Clyde Gates (knee) and cornerback Darrin Walls (shoulder) were limited.
Notes: Ryan said he thought briefly about using a color-coded system – as he did during Mark Sanchez’s rookie season in 2009 – to help Smith cut down on turnovers before changing his mind Wednesday. ”I think it’s his understanding of what we’re doing and I want him to play the position,” Ryan said. ”I don’t want him to sit back and be focused on other things. Just play the position and I think he’s going to be just fine. That’s kind of going to be where we’re at.” … Ryan confirmed that rookie Brian Winters is taking snaps with the first-team offense at left guard after Vladimir Ducasse started the first four games there. ”We’re giving him an opportunity, a look there as well,” Ryan said of Winters. ”But as far as saying he’s definitely going to be the starter, I’m not ready to say that yet.”