FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Matt Forte’s return date remains a mystery.
The Jets’ new do-it-all running back has yet to practice since training camp began on July 28. And his coach has no clearer idea of when Forte will actually see the field.
“I’m not sure. He’s day-by-day or week-by-week,” Bowles said.
Asked if he’s concerned that Forte’s lingering hamstring issue has become a “real injury,” he said: “Any time somebody misses practice it’s a real injury, whether they miss a day or whether it’s three or four weeks. He’s getting treatment, doing all the right things. Matt’s a tough guy. He’s a workaholic. And when he gets back, he gets back.”
But no one knows if Forte, who turns 31 in December, will return before the preseason ends. If Bowles is worried that the veteran running back won’t be ready for the regular season, he isn’t showing it.
“Not at this point. If he doesn’t, we’ll go with the guys we have.”
The Jets now have seven running backs on the roster after signing Lache Seastrunk and waiving injured Matthew Tucker on Saturday. But only two of them — Seastrunk and Bilal Powell, currently the No. 2 behind Forte — are healthy. Like Forte, Bernard Pierce is also dealing with a hamstring injury; Khiry Robinson (leg) was recently activated off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list; Dominique Williams suffered a concussion against the Jaguars; and Romar Morris suffered a shoulder injury on a hard hit from safety Rontez Miles.
Veteran LB David Harris was excused from practice and will return Sunday . . . NT Steve McLendon, who did not play Thursday night because of a toe injury, is “coming along fine,” but Bowles isn’t sure when he’ll return . . . DB Doug Middleton (sore leg) and TE Wes Saxton (leg) were among those who did not practice.