New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes acknowledged Wednesday he has no timetable for when he might return to the field as he recovers from a serious foot injury that sidelined him most of last season.
”I never had one from the start,” Holmes said of a target date. ”Coming off of injury, the first time, just letting the foot heal up and see where we can go from there.”
Holmes 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. There appeared to be more cause for optimism last Saturday night, when Holmes was running at full speed and caught a few passes from Geno Smith in warmups before the team’s preseason game against Jacksonville.
”I probably ran two routes, which were the two passes that I caught from Geno on the deep-side, but everything else was walk, catch the ball on the sideline,” he said. ”It wasn’t really full-go. It wasn’t planting and cutting the way I would like to, so at this point it’s only making strides forward.”
Holmes added that his foot feels good on some days, but still bothers him on others.
”This pain won’t go away,” he said.
That doesn’t sound like a guy who will be ready to play in the regular-season opener against Tampa Bay in a few weeks. Holmes said he still feels pain in his foot every morning when he wakes up, and it’s something he is learning to tolerate.
”I’m not able to be at Santonio Holmes’ level of competition,” he said, ”so right now, it’s just going with what I can give.”
Earlier this week, general manager John Idzik sounded optimistic during a radio interview, saying Holmes was ”hopefully close” to returning to the field. Coach Rex Ryan also has seen Holmes working out and rehabbing on a daily basis.
”He seems excited, so I think that’s a good sign,” Ryan said. ”But again, he’s going to lean on the trainers – we’re all going to lean on the trainers and the doctors – and when they say he’s ready to go, he’ll be champing at the bit. I can tell you that right now.
”He’s excited, I think he’s in great shape.”
But Holmes said the way he looks isn’t necessarily an indication of reality.
”Looks can be deceiving,” he said. ”I say that with a smile because if I actually look or felt as good as I looked, I would definitely be 100 percent ready. With that being said, looks can be deceiving.”
Holmes injured his left foot in the Jets’ 34-0 loss to San Francisco in Week 4 last season and needed two operations to repair it, including one in February to remove screws from the foot. During the offseason, Holmes said he had to learn how to walk again after suffering the Lisfranc injury, which usually involves separation of ligaments and joints in the middle of the foot.
His rehabilitation lately has consisted of working with the trainers, riding a stationary bike and using an anti-gravity treadmill that relieves pressure on the foot. Holmes said he hasn’t done any additional cutting or route running since last Saturday, but refused to say whether he could miss the start of the season – or the entire season, for that matter.
”I mean, we have 16 weeks of football,” Holmes said. ”At any point, I could be ready to play. If not, I would be willing to accept it.”
NOTES: NT Kenrick Ellis missed last week’s game with a sore back after being hurt while ”competing in the weight room.” He expects to sit out against the Giants on Saturday night, but hopes to play in the preseason finale next Thursday. … WR Clyde Gates appeared to injure his left arm early in practice, but Ryan had no update on his condition. … CB Dee Milliner, the team’s top overall draft pick, sat out practice for the second straight day with a sore left calf. ”We were hoping he would be progressing a little better, so this is just a little time to get him right,” Ryan said. ”It’s not like it’s a new injury at all. It’s just, we’re trying to get him closer to 100 percent than what he is and the trainers and doctors thought that giving him a little time to rest it (will help us) accomplish that.”