Santonio Holmes was injured on September 30, 2012 in a game against the San Francisco 49ers. Diagnosed as a severe lisfranc foot injury (essentially a severe sprain of the midfoot with displacement of the bones), he underwent surgery on October 14, 2012. On December 3, 2012 it was widely reported that he would need a second surgery to remove the plate put in his foot during the first surgery. At that time Holmes had been in a walking boot since the first surgery, and was expected to remain in a walking boot until the second surgery, scheduled for a somewhat vague "sometime in February, 2013." Quoting from a December 3 article on ESPN New York that you can read in its entirety here:
The Jets marquee receiver, who was back in New York for his annual fundraising event Monday, said the operation will focus on removing plates installed in October to repair a Lisfranc injury.
Holmes said doctors have told him he won't be able to start training again until possibly April. He was noncommittal on being ready for training camp in August, given the long recovery ahead.
"I've got another surgery in February," said Holmes, who visited the Jets' facility Friday for the first time since being placed on season-ending injured reserve. "That's all I know."
There were other sources at the time suggesting he might begin walking and light jogging sometime in April. Since December 3, 2012, there has been... nothing. Not a word. It is now late February. Has the second surgery taken place? Unknown. Is he still on pace to get out of the walking boot and begin rehabbing in April? Unknown. Is he going to be available for training camp? Unknown. What is known is that lisfranc injuries can be very difficult to deal with, with serious risks of 1. total midfoot collapse post surgery, and 2. arthritis developing post surgery. Either one of these conditions might end Holmes' career. Assuming his career is not over, when can we expect him back on the field? Unknown. If he remains in a walking boot through April, he will have been completely inactive for more than six months. One would think such a long period of inactivity would produce a certain amount of atrophy, not just in his foot muscles, but in all the muscles of his lower body. How long that might delay Holmes' eventual return is, at this point, anybody's guess.
The complete blackout of information suggests Holmes may not yet have undergone his second surgery, although that is just a reasonable guess, not nearly a certainty. If his second surgery has not yet been performed, then perhaps we will not see him even doing light jogging even later, maybe into May, or maybe even past that. This raises the specter that Holmes may not return at all this season.
Of course that is pure speculation, but what if he in fact eventually ends his media blackout, only to cast doubt on his return in 2013? What then? Well, one possibility is that if the Jets receive this information in time for free agency, they may decide to cut Holmes. The reason why is simple. Holmes is currently viewed as uncuttable because cutting him would save $1.25 million in cap space, but create a whopping $11.25 million in dead money. However, if the Jets become convinced Holmes will not play in 2013, then in effect they already have the $11.25 million in dead money, because that money is guaranteed to a player (Holmes) who will not play for the Jets in 2013. At that point the only reason to keep Holmes would be because the Jets wish to retain him in 2014. However, with his salary cap # at a still too large $10.75 million in 2014, and with cap savings of $8.25 million in 2014 if cut, it is likely that the Jets would decide to cut their losses and part ways with Mr. Holmes sooner rather than later and free up $1.25 million in precious 2013 cap space in time for free agency.
With a huge dead money figure in 2013 associated with the Holmes contract and relatively little cap savings to be gained by cutting Holmes, we all assumed Santonio would be a Jet in 2013. However, if the complete lack of news regarding Holmes' progress is indicative of a poor prognosis, then it may be we have already seen the last of Santonio Holmes in a Jets uniform. The coming weeks should cast some light on what is now a very murky situation.