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Saints' Bush making progress; Greer, Porter expected to return

METAIRIE, La. -- Reggie Bush was limited during Saints practice on Thursday, raising his prospects for getting back in the lineup for the first time since breaking a bone in his lower right leg in the second game of the season.

"It felt pretty good - still a little bit of pain there, but nothing that I couldn't handle. Nothing that wasn't expected," Bush said. "We'll just keep pushing every day and see what happens at the end of this week."

Head coach Sean Payton stopped short of saying he thought Bush would be ready to go by Sunday's game at Carolina.

"He's still not moving the way you'd like, but I think he's making a lot of progress quickly, and so each day we try to give him more to do," Payton said. "More than anything, it's still getting to where he's real confident and comfortable planting and driving off of that leg. But he certainly did more today than he did yesterday or up until now."

The Saints have a bye after Sunday's game against Carolina, but Payton had said this week that players healthy enough to suit up will do so as opposed to getting extra rest until after the bye.

Bush fractured his fibula when he dove on his muffed punt and players piled on top of him in the fourth quarter of the Saints' 25-22 victory Sept. 20 at San Francisco.

Bush never had surgery and said he maintained conditioning with low-impact training in pools and on stationary bikes in the six weeks since the injury.

"Obviously, I want to be in there, and I feel like it's been long enough to where my leg is fine and I shouldn't have to worry about any re-injury or anything like that," Bush said. "It would be great if I can get out there this weekend and at least run around a little bit and get some plays in here and there, just to get back into the feeling of it."

Bush said if it were up to him, he probably would play, but he added that he would trust the coaches and training staff to make the final call.

"I definitely want to get back in there and play," Bush said. "To miss another game, obviously, it's tough to sit on the sideline, but if that's what they decide and they feel like that's the best thing for me and for my health and for the team, then, obviously, that's what we'll have to do."

Meanwhile, starting cornerbacks Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer both practiced fully, and Payton sounded confident that the pair would return.

Porter has been out since hurting his left knee in Week 4 against Carolina, and Greer has been out since hurting his shoulder at Tampa Bay in Week 6.

Running back Pierre Thomas remains on crutches to keep weight off of his sprained left ankle, but he said he hopes to be using only a walking boot during the bye week.

"I feel pain all over my ankle," Thomas said. "They touch different spots and they say, 'You feel it there?' And I say, 'Yeah, I feel it there.' So I really messed it up. They say I really messed it up pretty bad."

Thomas said doctors have not mentioned the possibility of surgery, and he does not want to consider that option at this point.

"I know if I have surgery, I'm done this season," Thomas said. "I'm not thinking that. I don't want that. I'm going to take that negativity and throw it away. I'm thinking positive and that I'm going to get back on the field."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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