FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — After sitting out 13 practices, Matt Forte finally made his training camp debut. But he’s still a long way from being back.
The 30-year-old running back, who had been sidelined by a hamstring injury since camp began in late July, participated in positional drills Sunday afternoon. Forte’s presence was a welcome sign for Jets fans who braved the sweltering heat during a 2 1⁄2-hour practice, and they cheered loudly for Forte as he walked along the sideline during team drills.
Todd Bowles, however, refused to get ahead of himself.
Asked if he considered Forte’s limited involvement a positive sign, he said: “No. I mean, he’s been out a while, too. And then he hasn’t been in a while, too, so it’s just part of his treatment.”
He also cautioned that Forte’s participation isn’t an indication that his practice workload will increase steadily. “No, I don’t see him doing more each day,” Bowles said. “It’s just part of his rehab process. He’ll still be inside some days.
“He’s still day to day, week to week.”
Forte, who did not play in Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Jaguars, did not speak to reporters Sunday.
Forte doesn’t require the same number of reps as younger guys at his position. But even if he doesn’t play in the preseason, he still needs practice time with his new teammates.
“He needs to practice at some point,’’ Bowles said. “You know you need to practice. Nobody’s going to stay hurt forever and then come in Game 1. He’s making progress. He’s got time. We’ll just play it day by day.”