FLORHAM PARK, New Jersey — Antonio Cromartie has refused to blame his ailing hip for his struggles this season.
The New York Jets cornerback gave in — sort of — on Friday, acknowledging he has been trying to hide his pain the last few weeks.
"A little bit, but it still plays in here with technique and that's, I think, the biggest thing for me to understand," Cromartie said. "It's like, I'm never a guy to look for excuses, because if I'm on the field, I'm on the field and my teammates, myself, my coaching staff, they expect from me to be 100 percent when I'm on the field.
"I ask myself to be that way when I'm on the field also."
Cromartie returned to practice Friday on a limited basis after sitting out the previous two days. He sprinted along the sideline during the half-hour period the media are allowed to watch.
"Feeling a lot better with the rest and the treatment and everything I've been doing during the week," he said. "It felt good. We'll see how it goes Sunday before the game and we'll go from there."
Cromartie, who indicated he didn't do any cutting during practice, will be a game-time decision against the Miami Dolphins, as will wide receivers Santonio Holmes (foot, hamstring) and Jeremy Kerley (elbow), and linebacker Garrett McIntyre (knee). All were listed as questionable, as was safety Antonio Allen, who missed practice with an illness.
Holmes did not practice all week while dealing with a hamstring issue. He said he's feeling good, but Ryan wasn't as positive.
"He did not practice today," Ryan said, "so I'm concerned."
Cromartie's right hip has bothered him at times throughout the season since reinjuring it in Week 2 of the preseason. The hip issues stem from a 2008 injury in which he actually played through a dislocated hip while with the Chargers.
Cromartie has had varying degrees of pain the last few years related to the hip, but said he hasn't felt the sharp pains he has been dealing with until recently. It has appeared at times to have sapped some of Cromartie's speed, with the cornerback getting beat on some plays he normally wouldn't have in the past.
"It just restricts me from being explosive," he said. "I can't open up my stride as much as I've wanted to. But, it's just something that I try to deal with, with myself, and go through the treatments and just try to get myself better from that way.
"But, today just running around, I felt more explosive."
That's a good thing since the Jets need a healthy Cromartie against the Dolphins' speedy Mike Wallace. If Cromartie can't go, it might be rookie Dee Milliner, Kyle Wilson and Darrin Walls taking turns trying to cover Wallace.
The fact he wasn't feeling any pain in the hip this week is an encouraging sign for Cromartie, who has missed only one game in his NFL career — when the Jets rested their starters in the regular-season finale in 2010.
"If he comes up and it's a game-time decision and he can't play, then obviously, it's a major deal," Ryan said. "He's just a tough guy."
Holmes missed five games with a hamstring injury earlier this season before returning against Buffalo two weeks ago. He had two catches for 71 yards, but just a 12-yard reception last Sunday at Baltimore.
"I feel like I've been feeling the past three weeks," Holmes said. "Pretty good."
The Jets could be down two of their top receivers against Miami, though. Kerley was limited at practice while he continues to recover from a dislocated left elbow suffered on Nov. 3 against New Orleans.
Given the nature of the injury, Kerley could still be at least another week away from being able to play.
"If it was up to him, just on pride and character alone and everything else, he'll be out there," Ryan said. "But we need him to be effective where he's protected. If he's hurt and he's in pain and all of that, I don't want him out there if that's the case."
NOTES: Backup TE Konrad Reuland, on IR with a partially torn ACL in his right knee, is scheduled to have surgery next Wednesday and is aiming to be ready by training camp. ... Ryan on if third-string QB David Garrard could suit up Sunday: "There's a chance that if everyone else won't," the coach quipped, referring to handful of questionable players due to injuries. "I guess that would be it. That's really the only (way I) see him (being active)." Garrard is behind backup Matt Simms on the depth chart.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org