CORTLAND, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Santonio Holmes' road to recovery hit a snag on the way to training camp.
The New York Jets wide receiver's Cadillac truck broke down somewhere between New Jersey and central New York, causing him to arrive at SUNY Cortland much later than the rest of his teammates Thursday.
"It was a three-hour drive that didn't go so well for me," Holmes said after the team's first practice of camp Friday.
That's the way things have gone the last several months for Holmes, who was excused for missing some team meetings. He didn't practice Friday because he's still recovering from a serious foot injury that sidelined him for most of last season. And, he isn't sure when — or even if — he'll play this season.
"I can't answer that question right now," he said.
It's a time of uncertainty.
When asked to clarify why he couldn't, Holmes explained that even the doctors can't tell him for sure whether he'll be back at some point this year.
"This is the first day of training camp," Holmes said. "How do you expect me to answer that question? They don't know. I had two surgeries. That's all I can do is rehab right now, and that's what I'm dealing with right now."
Coach Rex Ryan seemed a bit more optimistic about getting his No. 1 receiver back.
"I feel confident that we'll have him," Ryan said.
But that might be based more on a gut feeling than a scientific or medical answer. Holmes was also asked if it's realistic for him to think that maybe by December he could be ready, since it's four months away.
"I mean, I want to, but 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 was placed on the active-physically unable to perform list earlier this week, and can be activated during camp whenever he's cleared. But, that is still uncertain, and he could begin the regular season on the PUP list and miss the first six games.
He injured his left foot in Week 4 of last season, and needed two surgeries, including one in February to remove screws. Holmes suffered what is called a Lisfranc injury, which usually involves separation of ligaments and joints in the middle of the foot. The rehabilitation from the injury is lengthy, and Holmes has often used an anti-gravity treadmill at the team's facility in Florham Park, N.J., to help with the process.
Holmes said a lot of the equipment he has been using was transported to camp at SUNY Cortland.
"I've done quite a bit of running," he acknowledged. "But everything's straight ahead and just as slow as possible, learning how to walk again, making sure the feet move at the same pace and there's no setbacks."
Holmes spent most of the first day of practice on the stationary bike and working with trainers. He was also on the field in a T-shirt and shorts, often talking to the other wide receivers and even the quarterbacks — acting almost as if he were a coach. He said that type of interaction will help him stay on top of offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's playbook, and keep him mentally sharp whenever he can actually practice again.
Holmes was considered by many to be one of the best wide receivers in the NFL before the injury, a clutch and speedy playmaker with sure hands. He was asked if he has concerns that he'll ever be the same type of player he once was.
"I can't worry about that right now," Holmes said.
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