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Santonio Holmes injures rib, X-rays negative

Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes catches a pass

Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes catches a pass while taking part in passing drills during training camp. (Aug. 1, 2012) Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- General soreness is now the least of Santonio Holmes' concerns.

The Jets' No. 1 receiver suffered a rib injury in the second half of Saturday night's annual Green and White scrimmage -- a game that featured touchdown passes from Mark Sanchez and Matt Simms and a lot of fancy footwork from Tim Tebow (but no completions).

Jets coach Rex Ryan told reporters rather nonchalantly that Holmes might have broken a rib when he caught a 7-yard pass from Sanchez and was hit hard by cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

But two hours later, a team spokesman said X-rays of Holmes' ribs were negative and that the wide receiver is day-to-day.

Holmes, who sat out the last two practices with "general" soreness, had three receptions for 22 yards in the scrimmage. He was targeted five times by Sanchez and had one drop.

Before Holmes' injury, the Jets gave the 9,420 fans a glimpse of their streamlined offense, their revolving door of offensive linemen and the Tebow wrinkle. In a 70-minute span, there were flashes of brilliance. But several miscues, too.

And with his offense down three starting linemen and several wide receivers, Ryan said he couldn't help but assume offensive coordinator Tony Sparano would have a long night. "I said, 'Tony, I love you, but my money's on the defense tonight,' " Ryan joked.

The game featured all the trademarks of an early August preseason game: high snaps (Caleb Schlauderaff), fumbles (Tebow, Joe McKnight), dropped passes and overthrown balls. But despite a slow start, Sanchez rebounded, finishing 11-for-16 for 82 yards and one touchdown. He also was "sacked" three times by linebackers Calvin Pace, rookie Demario Davis and Garrett McIntyre.

Tebow, on the other hand, struggled whenever he wasn't scrambling out of the pocket. He went 0-for-3 with a "sack" by Jay Richardson and also ran the ball three times for 14 yards. In his personal punt protector role, Tebow faked a punt and completed a pass to Eric Smith.

"I didn't get too many passes off today," said the backup quarterback, who was cheered when he took the field. "I felt like when I threw them, I threw them pretty accurately."

Tebow said there still are parts of his game that need work, mainly getting more accustomed to Sparano's rhythm and timing.

Some of the offense's struggles could be blamed on the makeshift line, which was short three starters: center Nick Mangold, who went to London to see his sister compete in the Olympics; right guard Brandon Moore, who went to Canton for Curtis Martin's Hall of Fame induction, and right tackle Wayne Hunter (back).

In their absence, Vladimir Ducasse (right and left guard), Matt Slauson (left guard, center), Austin Howard (right and left tackle) and Robert T. Griffin (right tackle and right guard) rotated in and out. But it was good practice for the young guys and veterans, Sanchez said.

"You always want to have your starters there to get a look at what kind of team you have," Sanchez said. "But you also need to know what the guys behind them are all about . . . I thought they did well, considering the circumstances."

Fourth-string quarterback Matt Simms delivered the strike of the day, hitting wideout Raymond Webber for a 31-yard touchdown pass over recently signed cornerback Devon Torrence.

If Holmes misses significant time, it could be an issue for an offense that already is thin at receiver. Chaz Schilens (groin) did not play and DaMarcus Ganaway, who recently was sidelined with a hamstring injury, was seen limping after the game.

On Thursday, the Jets were down eight injured receivers and forced to play with just four in short yardage and goal-line drills.

Nose tackle Sione Pouha and linebacker Bryan Thomas also did not play.

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