- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- His coach believes he's going to play. All the signs point to it as well.
Yet, Santonio Holmes still won't commit to a return this weekend against Buffalo.
"At this point it's still day by day. Inching a lot closer to playing and I just have to get the green light from the trainers," Holmes said. "I can say 'yeah, I want to play' but the production on the field with practice and through the rehab stuff has to be drastically improved to give me the green light."
Despite Holmes being noncommittal, the receiver is on track to return for Sunday's divisional game at Buffalo. The receiver last played Sept. 25 against the Titans and has suited up for just four games due to his hamstring injury. Jets head coach Rex Ryan called Holmes' hamstring injury "major" and the "worst one we've had this year by far."
"At this point, being 5-4, we all need all of our hands on deck and to get the opportunity to play with this team and help push for a playoff run it's something all of us want," Holmes said. "Continue to take it one day at a time. Be smart about the decisions that I want to make for the team, not just for myself."
The Jets have managed to stay in the thick of the playoff race despite not having Holmes for most of the season, and his return should give a boost to a unit that lacks playmakers and will likely be without Jeremy Kerley (elbow) on Sunday. Holmes was cautious working his way back to the team as he wanted to ensure that he would not come back for a game just to find himself sidelined for additional time.
As Holmes rehabbed, however, he missed crucial practice time with rookie quarterback Geno Smith. The duo had little time to work together in the preseason as Holmes was working his way back from his surgically repaired left foot, and they've been on the field for less than four full games together. Smith has completed just 10 of 24 passes to Holmes (41.7 percent).
Holmes has 10 catches for 243 yards and one touchdown on the year. His best game of the season came against the Bills in Week 3, as he torched them for 154 yards and a touchdown on five catches. The Bills were without safety Jairus Byrd and corner Stephon Gilmore that day, and corner Leodis McKelvin was injured during the game.
"I missed a lot of time during the summer when I had a major opportunity to get to know him and get a feel for how I how run routes and the things I can do on the field. To not have those opportunity present themselves throughout this year really throws off the chemistry between a quarterback and a receiver," Holmes said. "Really need as much time as you can in understanding each other so things can go right on the field. At this point it's about moving forward and looking forward to what we can do and not worry about what we didn't have."