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REX: Stephen Hill's Been Battling All Year

Posted Dec 13, 2013

Transcript of head coach Rex Ryan's Friday afternoon news conference.

First off, I’m sure you guys know, Stephen Hill is going to go on Injured Reserve and Saalim Hakim, from the practice squad, will be elevated to the active roster. Stephen, it’s just one of those deals where with any injury you’re going to give guys time to see if they can heal, several days off, see how it progresses before you would consider surgery or anything else. You try to bide your time and see how it works. This young man’s been battling the whole year. He’s had some swelling in his knees. He’d come back, he’d rehab, get back. But it just seemed like almost any time that he would do a football-related activity, whether it was practice or, more specifically, games, his knees would swell. So he’s been battling the whole season with it. Obviously, there are frustrations from his point, from everybody’s point, because we’re waiting for him to take the next step that you would take and it just hasn’t happened. Hopefully with this, we’ll get him back and we’ll get him healthy and be ready to roll next season. The kid worked his tail off. He was committed. He would be committed in the training room. He’d do everything that was asked of him. It’s just one of those things. He just wasn’t able to really get to where he could really be productive out there, so we ended up making that decision and that’s what it is.

Obviously, he’s out, did not practice. Guys that are questionable, [Antonio] Cromartie with his hip and concussion. He was limited today so we’ll see how that is. Again, he’s got to pass the concussion protocol and, as we’ve mentioned before, that goes into right before the game. They have something before they declare a player that he’s ready to go, so we’ll see how that goes. And then everybody else was probable and everybody else practiced full, including Santonio Holmes and Ed Reed. They practiced full today.

On how they can get Hill’s injury under control so it does not continue to crop up…

Again, I wish I knew. Obviously, we would have done those things. A lot of times, time helps, you get away from doing things. We’ll just see. I’m not sure. I don’t know what the extent is or anything else. I know the young man is really frustrated because it was one knee then it was the other. He just wasn’t right for the last couple weeks. He would gut through it. He could go out and participate but he just wasn’t the same guy. This wasn’t the same guy that we drafted that ran the 4.25 in the 40. Again, hopefully everything will work out. He’ll have time and he’ll get whatever needs to take place. I’m sure this guy will do whatever he can to get back on that field.

On if surgery has been ruled out for Hill…

Well, I don’t know about that. Again, I think right now it’s more about resting, getting off his legs and treatment and things before you do surgery. Like anybody else, it takes time. Is surgery an option? I’m not sure. Certainly, I would think that’s a possibility. I think this part is right now, let’s get him off his legs and let’s have him do some treatment and things but mainly get him off his legs and get that swelling down.

On if any surgery would be a “clean-up” procedure…

Again, it’s a shot in the dark. He’s not a doctor and I’m not a doctor.

On if there are structural problems with his knees…

No, I don’t believe that’s it. There’s obviously something going on in both his knees. It’s not like it’s an ACL or something like that. Again, I would not rule out surgery. I’m the wrong guy to talk about all that.

On if he was aware if Cromartie underwent a concussion test following collision with Reed…

No, I was not aware of that. I think he went down and came back, but I was not aware. I’m not sure even now if that’s when he sustained the concussion. I’m not sure.

On why Cromartie was absent from the beginning of practice…

He was seeing a doctor and then he came back. Again, he was cleared to practice but he was limited today because he missed part of practice.

On if Cromartie has been cleared for contact in practice…

He was able to participate, so I think that’s it. But again, that doesn’t mean you’re cleared to play, the concussion protocol in the NFL, it has to be because you’ll fly to the game, all that stuff. Before the NFL puts you on the field, you have to be cleared by different people, by the doctors, all that kind of stuff, to participate. So he can look great right now, but you go to a game, if something’s not right, they’re not going to put the young man out there. I think that’s good. He looks fine. I think he’s cleared to practice and all that, so that part we know. But we do list him as questionable because we don’t know how he’s going to respond to the travel and what the league will find before the game.

On if anyone notified him during the game about a potential head injury to Cromartie…

No, that’s correct. I was not.

On if he saw steps forward from Hill this season…

In training camp there was. He caught everything in training camp. The mini-camp, he came back and he had the drops. He was dropping balls, all that type of stuff, and I brought it up, I even challenged him the first night of training camp about catching the football. I don’t know how many days we went before he even dropped the ball. He was absolutely having a terrific training camp and then we went into the season and a few games we’re into it, it just seemed like he wasn’t the same guy with the knees. They were just swelling.

On if Hakim may be asked to return kickoffs…

Right, yeah, I don’t know if we’re going to put him in that spot. But no, that’s another reason why he’s going to be up is we’ll see what he can do as a kickoff returner.

On Holmes’ comments on Carolina’s secondary…

You know what? I really think he certainly wasn’t trying to be disrespectful. I think what he was saying, you’re taking a look that this front seven has been phenomenal. Obviously the middle linebacker is absolutely terrific. You’ve got two defensive ends that are really good. The one kid should be in the Pro Bowl, this Greg Hardy guy. Charles Johnson’s been there and they’re really stout up front. He said if you’re going to take a weakness it’d be the secondary. But typical if Santonio says it it’s going to be blown up. But he certainly didn’t mean to disrespect them. This might be the only defense in the league that’s in the top ten in every category. So, that wasn’t it. But again, hey, if they want to take a shot at Santonio go for it, because shoot, he’s a competitor. I know he’s excited about playing. We’re all excited. We know how difficult it’s going be, but again we’ll see on Sunday if we’re up to the challenge or not.

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