CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Miami running back Frank Gore began his second comeback from major knee surgery Tuesday, wearing a new number and being held to limited contact in the Hurricanes' first practice.
"Frank Gore really looked like Frank Gore at running back," coach Larry Coker said. "I was encouraged by that."
Wearing No. 3 instead of No. 32 and carrying about 20 additional pounds, the 5-foot-10, 220-pound Gore moved well in splitting first-team duties with sophomore Tyrone Moss.
It was the first significant work for Gore since he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee five games into the 2003 season. Gore ran for 468 yards and four touchdowns before the injury.
He also missed the entire 2002 season with a torn right knee ligament.
"I'm just taking it one day at a time," Gore said. "I'm just trying to get back. I felt pretty good to be back out there with the team. I feel good."
Both Coker and Gore said they expected the tailback to be ready for Miami's Sept. 6 opener against Florida State, but Coker said he will remain cautious with Gore when the Hurricanes begin practice in full pads on Saturday.
"We're not going to be foolish," Coker said.
Gore doesn't want to be held back.
"I'm ready. I've got to just go, and just push it," he said.
Moss, who ran for 511 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman last season, is the starter for now but that could change, said running backs coach Don Soldinger.
"Frank's got to prove himself, but if Frank comes back healthy, he's hard to beat out, just because he's so natural."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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