Santonio Holmes sat out practice Thursday for what New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan called a scheduled day off as the wide receiver returns from foot surgery 10 months ago.
"I certainly hope so," Ryan said when asked if Holmes will play in Sunday's season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "We'll make sure we have the absolute clearance from our doctors and our trainers before we do that. Obviously, he hasn't appeared in any preseason games this year, (he's) just now practicing. So we'll lean on them. But as I've said all along, I certainly hope he plays."
Holmes was removed from the unable to perform list and added to the Jets' active roster on Friday, but said he wasn't sure when he could return.
If he's back in the lineup this week, Holmes would give the Jets a needed weapon in the passing game. It's likely he'd be limited to a play count, something Ryan hinted at early in the preseason.
"Normally if you know he's healthy, if you played 70 snaps, he'd be in 70 of them, so I think that would be altered a little," Ryan said Thursday.
The Jets are starting rookie quarterback Geno Smith against the Buccaneers, who feature a rebuilt secondary with Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis and safety Dashon Goldson. Revis was traded to the Buccaneers while recovering from a torn ACL in April.
Holmes said only a week ago that he still has pain in his foot every morning and was not sure when he would be activated. He said then he could not yet make hard cuts on the field, but has been running for several months.
Holmes suffered a severe Lisfranc foot injury last season in Week 4 that required surgery. He had an additional procedure in February to have screws removed.
Holmes had 20 receptions for 272 yards in his four games last season.