Tebow returns to practice
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Wearing full pads and sweating from head to toe, Tim Tebow took snaps, threw passes and ran option plays Tuesday in his first practice since suffering a concussion 10 days ago.
The only thing Florida's star quarterback wasn't allowed to do was run over anybody.
Tebow returned to practice on a limited basis, though he still has not been cleared to play in the top-ranked Gators' Saturday night game at No. 4 LSU. Tebow wore a red non-contact jersey -- normal for quarterbacks -- and took snaps with the first-team offense.
"He looked like Tim out there today," coach Urban Meyer said. "Obviously practice is a lot different from what's going to happen Saturday night. We're still doing an evaluation."
The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner suffered a concussion in Florida's last game, against Kentucky on Sept. 26, when his head slammed into a teammate's knee after he took a hard hit to the chest. He spent the night in a Lexington, Ky., hospital and sat out practice last week (Florida was off) and again Monday.
He started running and lifting weights a few days ago. But Tebow didn't receive partial clearance to return to the field until he met with a team of athletic trainers and doctors, including a concussion expert from the University of Pittsburgh, during a pre-practice evaluation Tuesday.
Tebow had multiple imaging scans since his concussion and went through a battery of concussion tests, including Standard Assessment of Concussion (SAC), Balance Error Scoring System (BESS), Post Concussion System Scale (PCSS) and ImPact, a neuro-cognitive computer test.
A person familiar with the situation told ESPN's Joe Schad that doctors were satisfied with the progress Tebow has shown in balance, equilibrium and memory testing. He must reach certain measurable standards to progress to the next level in his participation.
Regarding Tebow's status and whether he will be cleared to play against LSU, a source close to the situation told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi that it was "highly unlikely any decision would be made before Saturday."
"Big smile on his face like you can imagine with Tim," Meyer said. "He was very anxious to get going. He told us after his workout two days ago it was the first time he broke a sweat and how good he felt."
Although Tebow seems to be on pace to play against the Tigers, Meyer cautioned that one small setback would postpone his return.
"If symptoms show up, that delays the whole deal," Meyer said.
Meyer said Tebow's status likely will not be determined until late in the week, maybe even the day of the game.
"If they said he's ready to go, then we have to make a decision to play him," Meyer said. "I've got to make that clear. He has not been cleared to play in the game Saturday night. Absolutely not. I don't think that will happen for some time yet. He simply practiced a 20-period practice in full pads."
Meyer said Tebow was a little rusty during practice, not too surprising since it was his first on-field action in more than a week. Tebow took about half the snaps -- backup John Brantley got the other half -- and competed in about 80 percent of the workout. He was held out of 11-on-11 drills.
Tebow hopped in a white van after practice and was shuttled from the fields to the football facility, keeping him out of sight from the 40 reporters and television cameras staking out his every move.
Meyer, meanwhile, headed into meetings with assistant coaches to discuss how the game plan would change if Tebow does play Saturday.
Will the Gators try to keep Tebow out of harm's way?
"I don't know how you do that," Meyer said. "It's a major college football game, especially against the team we're playing. We'll talk about it. ... The next two days will be heavy discussion with that."
But before Meyer makes any decisions about Tebow's playing time and play-calling, he said his star player needs to be fully cleared.
"We'll cross that when it's time," Meyer said. "I'm going to talk to Tim. The first thing you've got to do is, 'Is he 100 percent medically cleared?' And then you cross the next bridge. You go one at a time. And then what you have to do as an offensive coach, and as a head coach, is prepare in case he doesn't and prepare in case he does.
"The good thing is we have a quality guy right behind him that's a pretty good player," he said.
Information from ESPN.com's Chris Low and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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