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Holmes latest WR to suffer soft-tissue injury; Rex ponders practice tempo

Santonio Holmes, left, talks with Bilal Powell during

Santonio Holmes, left, talks with Bilal Powell during training camp at SUNY Cortland. (July 29, 2012) (Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.)

CORTLAND – Add Santonio Holmes to the “soft-tissue” injury list.

The wide receiver was on the field at the start of practice, but by the end of the session, Holmes was nowhere to be seen.

Turns out, he’s the latest wideout to be felled by a soft-tissue injury.

Jeremy Kerley, DaMarcus Ganaway, Royce Pollard, Eron Riley and Chaz Schilens began the day doing agility drills with the rest of the rehab group, while rookie Jordan White (broken foot) practiced in a red non-contact jersey. Scotty McKnight, who was placed on the practice-squad injured reserve last year after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee, was potted walking off the field with a trainer today. It appeared to be a left leg injury.

And later, Holmes was glaringly absent during two-minute drills.

Ryan didn’t know if Holmes’ injury was hamstring or groin-related and wasn’t sure if the wide receiver would practice Thursday. “I believe he will, but I haven’t heard from (head trainer) John (Mellody),” he said.

The Jets have 12 wide receivers on the roster, but they were down to only four healthy bodies by the end of practice: Stephen Hill, Patrick Turner, Dexter Jackson and Raymond Webber.

And as the injuries mounted, so too did Rex Ryan’s frustrations.

“Part of that is the tempo, but part of that is the responsibility of the guys,” Ryan said. You’ve got to be in shape. We’ve got to take care of our bodies. That’s frustrating. Like I told the team, most games we’re only going to have four receivers up. You’ve got to go the whole game with this kind of tempo. So I challenged them, we’ll see how we respond tomorrow.”

A Jets team spokesperson later clarified Ryan’s comments were not in relation to Holmes, but rather the young receivers.

“There hasn’t been major injuries but those things keep adding up and I don’t know why,” Ryan said, stressing his irritation with the injuries.

As minicamp closed a month ago, the coach told his players it was important to return in “world-class shape.” But after a rash of hamstring and groin injuries, Ryan decided to add 10 minutes to the team’s stretch period, starting Monday.

And that, of course, didn’t work.

“We’ve identified a concern,” the coach said. “We’re trying to fix it. And again, after one day, obviously there’s still some issues there.”

Ryan said he’s considered dialing back the tempo of practice, but that would impede the progress of others, he said.

“The defensive backs are running as much as anybody and we’ve been pretty healthy there,” Ryan said. “…I think those guys (WRs) are going to have to step up as a position group. We’ve got to step up and if not, Tony’s got enough multiple personnel groupings where we’ll just keep going on with practice.”

Never in his coaching career, even as an assistant, has Ryan seen a situation where so many position players have gone down with soft-tissue injuries.

“There’s no doubt it’s unusual,” he said. “We’re trying to get them back out there. Obviously you’re not going to put somebody out there that’s not ready to get back out there; (someone who’s) going to hurt themselves again. I just can’t put my finger on it. …I’ve never been around that kind of situation.”

Though Ryan admitted the faster-paced tempo of practice could be a major contributor to the soft-tissue injuries, “but this is who we are offensively,” he said. “That’s not going to change. We’re not slowing up. 

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