Keller, who hasn’t played since the Week 1 blowout win over the Bills, has been besieged by a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the last four weeks. The injury marks the first time in Keller’s five years in the league that he has missed a game, snapping his regular season games played streak at 65 games.
On Friday, Keller took a significant step forward in being able to play again.
“I was still limited, I took a good amount of reps,” Keller said. “If I had to guess, I’d say 50 percent; 30 to 50 percent. It was good.”
It was a long, grinding road to get Keller to this point.
There was frustration on the part of Keller in not being able to help his teammates, especially with the Jets losing wide receiver Santonio Holmes in Week 4 with a season ending foot injury. A target like Keller, who had a career high in receptions and receiving yards last season, could have buoyed an offense lacking playmakers without Holmes on the field. His return should help quarterback Mark Sanchez, who has struggled the last four games, and he gives the offense a legitimate target over the middle of the field.
He admits to a frustration level in not being able to help his teammates and being forced to watch from the sidelines.
With Sunday fast approaching, Keller said “I’m ready to go out there and play” and wants to put the injury ordeal behind him.
“It’s one thing if you know you have a timetable, ‘OK you’re going to be out for five weeks’ and you know that so you’re going into these games knowing you’re not playing,” Keller said. “But each and every week when it’s like ‘OK, I think I’m going to go’ and it comes to game time and it is like ‘OK, not today.’ And it’s for four or five weeks, it’s miserable.”
Kristian R. Dyer covers the Jets for Metro New York and contributes to The Jets Blog @KristianRDyer