Bucs' Jurevicius returns to practice

Updated: October 29, 2003, 8:32 PM ET

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay receiver Joe Jurevicius tested his injured right knee in practice Wednesday and remains questionable for this week's game against the New Orleans Saints.

The sixth-year pro participated in most full-speed drills for the first time since tearing the medial collateral ligament in his knee against the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 14. He's cautiously optimistic about returning on Sunday.

"Might' is the word. I have every intention of getting out there as soon as I can," Jurevicius said.

"I felt pretty good, and now I just have to take it day by day. I'd love to tell you right now that I'm going to play Sunday, and there's a chance. But if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. But I am very close to playing."

Jurevicius, a vital cog in Tampa Bay's attack during the Bucs' playoff run last January, was off to an impressive start when he was injured on a play in which he was blocking for Mike Alstott and the fullback fell into the receiver's knee.

He had four catches for 39 yards and two touchdowns in Tampa Bay's 17-0 season-opening victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. He had four more receptions for 31 yards before he was injured the following week against Carolina.

"He's made quick strides recovering and as soon as we see it play after play after play, we'll put him out there and play him," coach Jon Gruden said. "But he's still questionable."

Jurevicius figures he should know if he's ready to play by the end of practice Friday.

"Every day it gets better. I feel a night-and-day difference between what I did last week and what I'm doing this week. Last week, I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing now. I'm happy with the progress," he said.

"I really don't have any mental blocks. ... My leg is strong. If it wasn't strong I wouldn't be out here practicing right now."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index