"He did not practice (Wednesday). I don't think he'll practice," coach Tony Dungy said. "I said (Wednesday) he was doubtful. I doubted he would play. And (Thursday) I'm saying there's a better chance than I thought."
Team president Bill Polian has not set a timetable for when Sanders is expected to return. But when he does come back, don't expect to see any change in the way that 2007 Defensive Player of the Year conducts his business on the field or in practice.
"As to getting him back, we will do our level best to get him back there, but it is a function solely of Mother Nature. We can adapt his practice schedule. We can adapt his workout schedule. In the end, when his knee quiets down, he'll be back out there. We're never going to put a player out there if he is not able to defend himself, if he is not able to play well enough to avoid further injury," Polian said recently on his weekly radio show.
"If Bob does not have the swelling gone out of his knee, we're not going to put him out there. It's that simple. Whoever else plays is going to have to play and play well. Melvin Bullitt has done that for the last little while and I fully expect he'll continue to do that, because he's a good player. But the idea that Bob can someone slow himself down to the point where he can just tap people and knock them down or whatever to avoid injury is not realistic."
OTHER INJURY NOTES:
— WR Roy Hall (knee/hamstring) has returned to practice. Hall took part in workouts Wednesday and Thursday. He is not, however, expected to play Sunday against Cleveland.
— WR Reggie Wayne was allowed to sit out Thursday's practice in order to rest old injuries. Wayne should be back for Friday's workout and start against the Browns on Sunday.
— DE Dwight Freeney was given Wednesday off to rest old injuries. But he returned for Thursday's workout and will start at Cleveland on Sunday.
— DE Robert Mathis returned to practice on Thursday after sitting out Wednesday in order to rest old injuries. Mathis will start against the Browns on Sunday.
— S Melvin Bullitt (ankle) practiced Thursday after sitting out Wednesday's workout. Bullitt is expected to start against Cleveland on Sunday if Bob Sanders is unable to play.