Two days after casting doubt on an imminent return, New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes -- 10 months removed from foot surgery -- was added to the active roster Friday after a month on the physically unable to perform list.
Holmes passed the team physical and is eligible to practice. He won't play Saturday night against the New York Giants.
The timing could allow Holmes to be ready for the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jets have two full practices next week before the final preseason game (he likely won't play), followed by a long week of preparation for the opener.
The mercurial Holmes has kept people guessing about his anticipated return, remarking as recently as Wednesday that he still feels pain in his foot every morning when he wakes up. When told he looked good running sprints before last week's game, he responded: "Looks can be deceiving."
There was suspicion within the organization that Holmes simply wanted to skip training camp. As one source said recently, "He could be milking it and feel fine by Week 1."
This hardly guarantees that he'll play against the Bucs. Holmes noted Wednesday that he has been limited to straight-ahead running, no hard cutting.
But if the Jets didn't expect him to play early in the season, they would've left him on the PUP list to start the year, meaning he'd miss a minimum of six games.
The Jets' brass evidently saw a marked improvement, because general manager John Idzik said Monday that Holmes was "getting close" to a return. Holmes suffered a severe Lisfranc foot injury last season in Week 4, requiring immediate surgery.
He underwent a follow-up procedure in February to have the surgical screws removed.
Clearly, Holmes is the Jets' most accomplished receiver. The former Super Bowl MVP has 358 career receptions for 5,507 yards and 35 touchdowns. He would bolster a young receiving corps, although it probably will take time for him to work his way back to his old form.
On Wednesday, Holmes wouldn't commit to anything. Asked if there's a possibility he might miss the entire season, he replied, "I don't really know how to answer that. We have 16 weeks of football. At any point, I could be ready to play."