- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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"Still don't know," Holmes said Wednesday. "Still haven't gotten any words from the docs yet on whether I should be playing or not. We're just going to keep playing it by ear now."
The New York Jets could desperately use Holmes as they prepare to face Tampa Bay's retooled secondary that includes former Jet Darrelle Revis. Holmes has not played since suffering a Lisfranc fracture on Sept. 30, 2012, and undergoing two corresponding surgeries. Holmes had a limited practice Wednesday.
"Like I said before I have a long career and don't want to get out there and do anything to jeopardize that up to this point," Holmes said. "We have 16 games to play this season and hopefully I can play in all 16, but if not, we'll have to deal with what I can do."
Holmes, who has been very cautious when discussing his return, did acknowledge that he expects to play this season. Since the Jets did not keep him on the PUP list to start the season, the team expects to have him back by the sixth game at the latest.
The veteran receiver said he feels pretty good about the things he's been doing during practices, which he continued to describe as limited, and said he's still not doing his route running and other facets of his game nearly as well as he's been accustomed to during his career. Regarding Sunday's opener, Holmes said he expects the final decision will come just before the game.
"I would like to help the team out as much as possible," Holmes said. "If I'm ready to go or if I'm limited to play in this game I'm going to give 100 percent effort I can give with the amount of plays that I'm probably allowed to play."
If Holmes returns Sunday, he could line up against Revis, who's status for the game is also up in the air as he tore his ACL last year and is also working his way back. The pair were a key reason why the Jets made the AFC Championship Game in the 2010 season, only to fall to the Steelers.
"He's been probably as limited as I have in practice through this point. I haven't heard anything about him as far as him playing," Holmes said. "If that's the case, it will be a great matchup."
Heading into this year, the Jets are universally viewed as one of the worst teams in the NFL, with ESPN's panel of experts ranking them last. Holmes, the team's best offensive weapon, seemed excited to attempt to prove people wrong.
“I think we probably couldn’t be more happier than being off the radar of everybody,” Holmes said. “We have a focus on the team and not what anybody else thinks this team should be."