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Rehabbing Santonio Holmes not sure if he'll play this season

Santonio Holmes stretches to catch the ball but

Santonio Holmes stretches to catch the ball but landed out of bounds late in the 2nd quarter. (Sept. 9, 2012) Credit: David Pokress

CORTLAND, N.Y. - Six weeks ago, Santonio Holmes wouldn't commit to being ready by Week 1. Now the Jets' No. 1 receiver won't even say whether he'll play this season.

Holmes, who underwent foot surgeries in December and February, understandably tried to err on the side of caution Friday. But his noncommittal responses to questions about his rehab raised doubts about his recovery timetable and its impact on the Jets' receiving corps.

"I can't answer that right now," he said, adding that the Jets' doctors aren't sure if he'll return this season. "It's the first day of training camp. How are you going to answer that question? I had two surgeries. All I can do is rehab right now."

Since undergoing surgery for a Lisfranc injury, in which bones in the midfoot are broken or displaced, Holmes said he has focused on the basics -- such as learning to walk again. Nevertheless, "he looks great," coach Rex Ryan said.

"He's doing a lot of conditioning and things like that, so [his body] won't be the issue,'' Ryan said of Holmes, who was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. "A lot of times, when you come off the injury, you rehab the injury, but you also have to get back into playing shape. Now I'm not saying he's in football shape, but he's in great shape. He's probably dropped seven or eight pounds, so he's really been working.''

Holmes said he'll have access to the Jets' state-of-the-art equipment in Cortland.

"I've done quite a bit of running," said Holmes, who suffered the injury in Week 4 last season. "Everything's straight ahead and as slow as possible. Learning how to walk again. Making sure the feet move at the same pace and there are no setbacks in the future."

As much as he'd like to be on the field, Holmes said he refuses to rush his rehab.

"I have to do what the foot says to do,'' he said. "If it's not ready to roll, it's not ready to roll."

Holmes, who agreed to reduce his salary from $11 million to $7.5 million this season, insisted he isn't frustrated by the injury.

"I have to deal with what I have to deal with," he said. "That's all I can do."

Ryan, on the other hand, has little doubt that he'll get his top receiver back at some point this season.

"There's always concern, but I feel confident that we will have him," he said. "Now, when that is? I'm not sure. But I'm confident that he'll be out there.''

For the Jets' sake, that had better be true. Ryan has few playmakers at his disposal, particularly on offense. The Jets added depth by signing free agents Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow Jr., but both veterans need to prove they can stay healthy and be productive over the course of a 16-game season.

In the meantime, the Jets have no choice but to bide their time with Holmes.

"Nothing has changed since the offseason," he said. "Just taking it one day at a time."

New York Sports