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Sprained ankle still keeping Burress out of practice

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Plaxico Burress is no Jeremy Shockey, at least when it comes to playing on a bad ankle in training camp.

Shockey pushed himself a year ago on a sprained ankle, and it ended up bothering him during the New York Giants' regular season.

Burress isn't making the same mistake. The veteran receiver hasn't practiced since spraining his right ankle on Aug. 2. His hours on the field at the University at Albany over the last 12 days have been spent either watching Eli Manning and the offense work or riding a stationary bike.

"I am going into my eighth year," Burress said Tuesday. "I pretty much know what to expect from myself, and they know what to expect from me. I know where to be at. I'll just return to my job. Like I said, it's like riding a bike. You get out there and do what you do."

While Burress is seemingly not worried, head coach Tom Coughlin is concerned the timing will be off between Manning and his top receiver when the season opens in Dallas on Sept. 9.

Burress, though, downplayed the concern. He insisted he would need only a couple of days to get his timing down with Manning.

However, the ankle needs to get better. Burress can run straight ahead, but he can't make the quick moves that allow him to get open.

"There is no need for me to go out there if I am playing with pain, just to get through training camp," Burress said. "It makes no sense. My objective is to get all the soreness out and play pain free."

Burress said there is still soreness and he won't return until it's gone.

"I don't want to have another setback right now," he said. "I just want to heal it up the first time and not worry about it lingering and having it nag me through the regular season."

Burress played with a nagging injury to his left ankle last season, then had surgery on it in the offseason to remove bone spurs. The operation limited Burress' work and the coaching staff only let him practice once a day when training camp opened.

"You just keep fighting every day to get better," said Burress, who said this was his first sprained ankle. "When my ankle heals, I'll be out there. It's not frustrating for me at all. You just try to find a way to make your teammates better."

Manning also didn't think it would take more than a week or two for him to get his timing down with Burress, who had 63 catches for a career-high 10 touchdowns last season.

"We just have to work on some new things we are putting in and me reading his body and being on the same page with everything," Manning said.

If there is a positive for the Giants, the injury has allowed Manning more time to throw to second-year pros Sinorice Moss and Michael Jennings, and occasionally to rookie Steve Smith.

Burress said Smith, a second-round pick from Southern California, plays like a veteran.

"He just makes plays that rookies don't make in this league," Burress said. "He has good hands, but he has tremendous ball skills. He can locate a ball over the inside shoulder, outside shoulder, in between traffic, and he can bring it in."

Once Burress is healthy and back in shape, he plans to contribute, too.

"I know where to be at the right time," he said. "It's basically me getting out there, running full speed and catching footballs."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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