Jets' Shonn Greene still out

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Running back Shonn Greene missed practice for a second straight day with a skin infection on his right foot, but the New York Jets expressed optimism he won't be sidelined for an extended period.

"We think he'll be fine next week," Rex Ryan said Friday.

Late Thursday, the team announced that Greene has a low-grade skin infection, claiming it was caught early and that it's being treated with antibiotics. Greene won't play Sunday night against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The revelation fueled immediate speculation about a possible staph infection, a scourge of NFL locker rooms, but the Jets are calling Greene's ailment a "standard routine skin infection." A skin infection can't be cultured to test for staph, according to a team spokesman.

Greene's foot problem actually began "a few days ago," according to the team. He received a local anesthetic to have a callous shaved from his foot. During that procedure, Greene pointed out another area on his foot causing discomfort, and that was later diagnosed as the skin infection, the team said.

"Nobody seems too concerned about it," Ryan said.

Greene spent Friday at the Jets' facility, with his foot elevated. He's responding well to the antibiotics, the spokesman said.

Ryan said he's not concerned about the possible spread of infection, claiming the trainers' room is clean and sterile.

"You can eat off the floors because they clean it like crazy," he said. "This building, we try everything we can to make sure that never happens. We never had an issue like that and, hopefully, we never do."

Greene's absence means LaDainian Tomlinson, 32, will return to his old starting job against the Bengals. He is learning a new role -- third-down back -- although the team believes he still can be a full-time player, if necessary.

"This guy can still be an every-down back, but for our team, it fits us better that he's a third-down specialist -- a reserve back, letting Shonn take the brunt of the snaps," Ryan said.

He added that the team was "blessed" to be so stacked at running back.

Tomlinson, who appeared in only two plays in the preseason opener, said he's embracing his new role as a part-timer and isn't concerned about matching last preseason's workload -- a career-high 22 carries. This summer, he doesn't feel he needs as many carries to get ready for the season.

"In a different role, you don't worry about the increased workload or getting ready for 'X' amount of carries or playing time," said Tomlinson, who led the Jets last season in rushing yards (914) and attempts (214). "Third down and spelling Shonn is what I expect to do this year."

Behind Tomlinson, the Jets have Joe McKnight, who will play Sunday night despite suffering a concussion last week, and rookie Bilal Powell, a fourth-round pick from Louisville.

McKnight and Powell are expected to receive most of the carries against the Bengals.

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.