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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- For the second time in nine days, the New York Jets announced a season-ending injury to one of their best players. This time, it's wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who will have surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury to his left foot.
Holmes suffered a significant ligament tear in his foot, according to a source. Surgery hasn't been scheduled yet, but it's likely to be performed by Dr. Robert Anderson, a foot specialist in Charlotte.
The Jets waited until Wednesday to reveal the bad news, but they braced for the worst-case scenario on Tuesday. They signed veteran wide receiver Jason Hill and cleared a roster spot by placing Holmes on injured reserve.
In back-to-back games, the Jets lost arguably their most important non-quarterback players. The bad luck started with All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, who tore the ACL in his left knee and will miss the remainder of the season. Both injuries were non-contact.
"How many people are going to feel sorry for the New York Jets?" coach Rex Ryan asked. "I know the answer to that -- nobody."
The team didn't disclose the exact nature of Holmes' injury, but a Lisfranc -- a mid-foot sprain or fracture -- is one of the toughest foot injuries from which to recover. Ryan said the doctors are confident Holmes "will make a full recovery and be ready to roll for next year."
The Jets still have a large financial commitment to Holmes, who's in the second year of a five-year, $45 million contract. In 2013, he's guaranteed $7.5 million of his $11 million salary.
In the meantime, the Jets will be without their top playmaker on offense, weakening a unit that already has struggled mightily. The offense has produced only two touchdowns in the past 12-plus quarters, fueling a quarterback controversy with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. Ryan is sticking with Sanchez, whose supporting cast has eroded.
Sanchez will face the undefeated Houston Texans on Monday night without Holmes and, possibly, wide receiver Stephen Hill and tight end Dustin Keller, both of whom are recovering from hamstring injuries. Neither player practiced Wednesday.
The starting wideouts probably will be Chaz Schilens and Jeremy Kerley, who have a combined 117 career receptions. The top backup is Clyde Gates, whom the Jets picked up on waivers at the end of the preseason.Ryan put on a brave face, insisting his slumping team will overcome the adversity.
"It does check the resolve of your team, but I think that's one of our strengths," said Ryan, whose team didn't seem to show much resolve Sunday in a 34-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers that owner Woody Johnson deemed "absolutely unacceptable."
The loss of Holmes, injured on the first play of the fourth quarter, will allow defenses to overplay the running game (ranked 24th) and blitz Sanchez with more frequency.
"Obviously, it's a big loss for us," Ryan said. "Santonio is one of the top receivers in the game -- a big loss. With that comes opportunity for others to step up."
The Ryan-coached Jets have overcome key injuries in the past. In 2009, they lost nose tackle Kris Jenkins and running back Leon Washington in back-to-back weeks but rallied to make the playoffs.
How many people are going to feel sorry for the New York Jets? I know the answer to that -- nobody.” -- Jets coach Rex Ryan
"It's the world we live in," guard Brandon Moore said. "You move on. It's an unfortunate situation, losing a playmaker like (Holmes). Teams deal with it. Some teams come out of it OK and some don't. I'm hoping we'll be on the other end of it."
The Jets passed on the opportunity to re-sign free agent Plaxico Burress, who scored eight touchdowns for them last season. Burress never was a consideration, according to a source, claiming the organization wanted to make a clean break from last season.
Burress was part of a dysfunctional wide receiver group that contributed to last year's locker-room turmoil. Ryan said he respects Burress, 35, but wants to get younger and faster on offense.
Jason Hill, 27, cut by the Denver Broncos in the preseason, has played for the 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars, compiling 76 career receptions for 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns. He made headlines in New York last season, claiming during the run-up to a Jets-Jaguars game that Revis is "overhyped" by the New York media.
The Jets won 32-3, with Hill sitting out because of a hip injury.
Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum decided not to add any big-name receivers in the offseason, relying on Holmes to lead a young group. Ironically, there was an outcry in New York to unload him after last season, when he clashed with Sanchez and was benched late in the final game because he was jawing with teammates in the huddle.
Sanchez and Holmes patched up their differences in the offseason, and they enjoyed their best game as a quarterback-receiver tandem in Week 3. Holmes tied a career high with nine catches for 147 yards in an overtime win over the Miami Dolphins.
Afterward, Sanchez said he and Holmes had rekindled the chemistry they showed in 2010, Holmes' first season in New York.
"It kind of reminded me of a couple of years ago," Sanchez said. "To have that chemistry with 'Tone just feels good and that's where we're supposed to be, so we have to keep building on it."
Now he'll have to build it with other receivers, a no-name cast. They will miss Holmes, their only receiver that drew extra coverage from defenses.
"Hopefully, we wish (the impact) could be little or none," Kerley said. "But 'Tone is an elite receiver. Somehow, we have to press on."