Center Jeff Christy stood on the sideline for the last half of Wednesday's practice, with an ice bag tightly taped to his left knee. As far as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were concerned, that was just fine.
Christy's first practice in almost four weeks went according to plan, as the four-time Pro Bowl center participated in roughly half of the team's work, including two individual periods, a 7-on-7 period (mostly passing) and a 9-on-7 period (mostly running). He then shut it down and started preparing for a longer stint in Thursday's session.
Afterwards, Christy felt no worse for the wear and indicated that he was on track to play in Sunday's game against Philadelphia, if it occurs.
"There's just a couple more things I've got to do for myself before I can play on Sunday that I haven't done yet – certain cuts or running a certain way," he said. "I'm sure I'll get that tomorrow."
Once he satisfies himself that he is sufficiently recovered to play, he will need only clearance from the team's medical staff. Christy said he would be surprised not to get it.
"Right now, I'm approaching it as if I'm playing, the same way I did last week, and they'll let me know," he said. "I have no control. All I can do is do the best I can in practice and show them that I'm ready."
That shouldn't be much of an issue, as long as Christy continues to progress on Thursday and Friday. Both Head Trainer Todd Toriscelli and Head Coach Tony Dungy were pleased with what they saw from Christy on Wednesday.
"We planned on building him back for about half the practice and just try to gradually build his conditioning up," said Dungy. "He did fine with it and felt good afterwards, and that was a good sign."
Dungy also confirmed that injured cornerback Dwight Smith (mid-foot sprain) worked about the same amount of time as Christy, though Smith is not quite as far along as his veteran teammate in his recovery.
"Dwight worked a little bit and did okay," said Dungy. "I'd say he's probably still questionable at this point, but he got back in practice, as did Jeff."