Another season of struggles and injuries has finally ended for Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill, who was placed on injured reserve Friday due to a knee injury that has plagued him the whole season.
Hill has not practiced this week and missed last Sunday’s win over the Raiders.
The injury cuts short another mediocre season for Hill, who had plenty of hiccups in his rookie season in 2012. This year saw similar struggles, in particular with his route running and ability to find separation down the field.
In 12 games this year, the former second-round pick had 24 receptions for 342 yards, both totals better than the year prior. But he still had issues catching the ball and was rarely targeted by quarterback Geno Smith.
“It is 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,” head coach Rex Ryan said. “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.”
The lackluster year comes after a training camp where Hill was hailed as having taken a significant step forward as a reliable pass-catching wide receiver. But with a rookie quarterback and continued acclimation to the NFL from an option offense in college, the 2013 season was anything but easy.
Despite the fact Hill’s first missed game of the season was this past Sunday, he said the knee injury has been an issue all season long.
“I feel like it kind of limited me a little bit, not much,” Hill said. “We still had a game plan to the point even where I was running down the field during practice a lot. It’s just how things went as the games went on. Other than that, I just wanted to get right so we can get it back to where we were in the beginning of the season.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.