Santonio Holmes will likely be on the field for the New York Jets in their season opener.
Whether the wide receiver actually plays or remains on the sideline is the big question.
”I still don’t know,” Holmes said Wednesday. ”Still haven’t gotten any word from the doctors yet on whether I should be playing or not, so I’m just going to keep playing it by ear.”
The decision could be made early Sunday morning before the Jets take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home.
”Like I’ve said before, I have a long career and I don’t want to go out there and do anything to jeopardize that,” he said. ”We have 16 games to play this season and hopefully I can play in all 16. But if not, we’ll have to deal with what I can do.”
Holmes was limited at practice as he continues to recover from a foot injury that sidelined him most of last season. He took part in individual drills, but Holmes said that’s about all he has been able to do so far. Holmes did add that being placed on the short-term injured reserve list was never considered.
Holmes, the team’s top receiver when healthy, seriously injured his left foot in Week 4 of last season, nearly a year ago, and needed two surgeries 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.
The rehabilitation has been arduous for Holmes, who has made steady progress since the start of training camp.
”Honestly, I feel pretty good about the things I’ve tried to do thus far,” he said.
When asked, though, if he’s close to being at his normal level of performance, Holmes said, ”Nope, not at all. Not at this point.”
If Holmes can’t play, the only remaining wide receivers on the active roster would be Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, Clyde Gates and Ryan Spadola.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez (right shoulder), linebacker Quinton Coples (ankle), defensive tackle Leger Douzable (illness) and tight end Kellen Winslow (knee) didn’t practice Wednesday, but Douzable and Winslow are expected to play.
Sanchez could miss a few weeks with the injury that cleared the way for rookie Geno Smith to start Sunday. Coples is sidelined indefinitely.
Top cornerback Antonio Cromartie (hip) and defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis (back) were limited, but both are expected to play.