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Ailing Bucs QB Freeman better but still day to day

TAMPA, Fla. -- Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman said his injured throwing shoulder is improving and he hopes to be able to play Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Freeman was limited in practice Wednesday, when he did some light throwing while backup Josh Johnson worked with the first-team offense.

Freeman was injured during a 23-17 loss at Tennessee two weeks ago and sat out last Sunday's 38-19 loss to Carolina, ending a stretch of 36 consecutive starts. He described his injury as a bone bruise.

"Obviously, he'll be a day-by-day guy. We'll see what he's able to do (Thursday). We'll have a chance to evaluate him on Friday, obviously Saturday and Sunday," Bucs coach Raheem Morris said of the prospect of waiting until the weekend to make a decision on Freeman's status. "Obviously he's a lot better this week than he was last. We'll get a chance to see where he can go and if he can go the next couple of days."

Freeman said team trainers want to "take it slow," but he still there's a realistic chance he can play against the Jaguars.

"Continually it's gotten better," he said. "It started out extremely painful, just standing around. But my movement's greatly increased. I've thrown the ball a few times and it's just day to day gotten better. If we can continue on this pace, and I really hope we can, I'll play."

Johnson, who made his first start since 2009 against the Panthers, left the game for one play during the second quarter because he separated his non-throwing shoulder and had to have it popped back into place before he could return.

"I don't think he even grimaced," Morris said, adding that Johnson wasn't affected the remainder of the game and will be prepared to start again if Freeman is unable to play at Jacksonville.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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