TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Marvin Harrison's knees are healthy enough to play football again.
Getting back in sync with the Indianapolis Colts' high-scoring offense may take a little more patience.
The eight-time Pro Bowler seemed to enjoy himself Friday, defying the doctors' early prognosis and returning to the field for Indy's first training camp practice after undergoing offseason knee surgery.
"It was good to see him smiling and running easy," coach Tony Dungy said. "For me, I try to read his face. When he's smiling, things are pretty much normal."
Harrison wasn't the only one smiling Friday.
As he trotted onto the field in his familiar No. 88 jersey, nearly 1,000 fans chanted his name and cheered almost every time he got his hands on the ball -- even when he was catching passes from the equipment staff.
As recently as a June mini-camp, Dungy said Harrison would likely join his high-profile teammates on the PUP list, meaning the Colts would have started practice without their career leaders in passing, receiving and sacks.
Earlier this week, though, Dungy said the medical opinion had changed and that Harrison might be available opening day. On Friday morning, Harrison made it reality.
The usually quiet Harrison declined to take questions after the workout but his teammates liked what they saw from their 35-year-old teammate.
"I thought he looked good," tight end Dallas Clark said. "He's like anyone who hasn't been on the field for a while. I wish it was like riding a bike, but the things we do, the footwork and stuff, that's not natural and that's why you practice. He'll come around like everyone else here."
Another factor in the workout that Dungy described as "less sharp" than he would have preferred were the other adjustments.
Manning had surgery July 14 to remove an infected bursa sac from his left knee and missed the start of training camp for the first time since 1998 when he was an unsigned rookie. He's expected to be out four to six weeks and his absence gave longtime backup Jim Sorgi a rare opportunity to work with the Colts' regular starters.
Behind Sorgi are two newcomers. NFL veterans Quinn Gray and Jared Lorenzen were only signed Thursday and are still learning the offense.
"It's different," Clark said. "It's just when you've been used to that (having Manning), it's different. It's hard to explain, but we're going to be fine."
The two most significant were to Freeney, who missed Indy's last eight games after having foot surgery, and Harrison, who missed most of the season after Denver's D.J. Williams rolled into his left leg in Week 4. After that, Harrison, who rarely takes plays off even in practice, was only on the field sporadically.
Still, the Colts continued winning games. They finished 13-3 and won their fifth straight AFC South title before losing to San Diego in the playoffs -- a game in which Harrison did play.
Throughout the offseason, Harrison continued rehabilitating the injured left knee and then had surgery on his right knee. Initially, doctors thought he would miss at least part of training camp.
Harrison had other plans.
"Marvin did fine," Dungy said. "He did all his work, took his normal turns. I think we're assuming everything's fine until we see otherwise."
Dungy said the Colts will monitor Harrison's progress closely although there are no immediate plans to scale back his work.
But with Harrison healthy and a receiving corps at full strength, Dungy likes his chances.
"You're dealing with a rare guy in Marvin," Dungy said. "You saw it with Jerry Rice and a few other guys. You know when we went back to the first four games on tape, there was nothing different than you could discern from 2003 or 2005, so we expect him to play the same way he's been playing all these years."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press