Harrison, Brackett cleared to play Saturday

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Indianapolis' Peyton Manning, Bob Sanders and Dwight Freeney will miss their second straight preseason game at Carolina.

But things are getting better for the Colts.

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Two players -- record-setting receiver Marvin Harrison and starting middle linebacker Gary Brackett -- were cleared to play Saturday night, earlier than coach Tony Dungy expected. Both sat out Sunday against Washington, and Dungy had said he didn't believe they would play in a game until at least next week.

The plan changed Friday, a day after Brackett returned to practice four days sooner than expected and Harrison made it through two practices unscathed.

"They'll probably go with the first group," Dungy said before the team left for Charlotte. "He (Harrison) wanted to work those two practices and he felt good, so he's good to go."

If Harrison does play Saturday night, it would be only the third time he's appeared in a game since Sept. 30, when a Denver player rolled into his left leg, injuring Harrison's knee. Harrison played two weeks later against Jacksonville, then didn't play again until the Colts playoff game against San Diego in January.

Harrison spent the offseason rehabbing the left knee while having surgery on the right knee.

Harrison had been expected to open training camp on the physically unable to perform list, but he healed quickly enough to make it onto the field for the opening practice July 25. Since then, doctors have taken a cautious approach, limiting Harrison to one practice session each day until Thursday, when Harrison made it through both the morning and evening sessions.

When he had no problems Friday morning, he was cleared to play.

"He hasn't really had a setback and he feels good," Dungy said. "That's one of the best stories out of this camp."

Brackett was injured in practice last week with what was first described as a hip injury, then later changed to a groin injury.

The Colts will, however, be without 16 of the 80 players on their roster.

Joining Manning, Sanders and Freeney on the PUP list are starting linebacker Tyjuan Hagler (torn pectoral muscle), starting guard Ryan Lilja (knee) and rookie tight end Tom Santi, who had an infected bursa sac removed from his knee before camp opened. Manning had a similar surgery on July 14 and was expected to miss four to six weeks.

Defensive back Michael Coe and rookie linebacker Philip Wheeler will both be out, too, after having knee surgery in the last week.

Also out are linebackers Clint Session (calf) and Victor Worsley (hamstring), defensive ends Jeff Charleston (groin) and Curtis Johnson (quad), wide receivers Pierre Garcon (hip) and Roy Hall (hamstring), defensive back Melvin Bullitt (thumb) and running back Clifton Dawson (hamstring).

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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