Plaxico Burress tweaks back

Updated: August 25, 2011, 12:49 PM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Just hours after coach Rex Ryan announced that his $3 million receiver had a sore back to go with his sprained ankle, Plaxico Burress was in uniform on the Jets practice field.

But Burress looked nothing like a 34-year-old receiver fighting back the pain. He scampered to catch balls from quarterback Mark Sanchez, even snuck into special-teams drills and caught a punt.

Soreness? What soreness?

"It's just a little soreness," Burress said. "It's part of football, the bumps and bruises. It's not badminton, so you expect to have a little bit of soreness here and there."

Even before the practice, Burress had downplayed the problem that landed him on the unofficial injury report. Ryan said that Burress felt something in his rib, then his back after going up for a ball during Tuesday's practice. Burress said it wasn't even something he'd call an injury, but the soreness you'd expect while playing a contact sport.

"It's part of football," Burress said. "And getting banged up and bruised, you got to expect this to happen. It's not like walking to the 7-Eleven and buying a Slurpee. It's a little more physical than that."

Ryan did not think that Burress would miss the preseason game this Saturday against the Giants, Burress' team until shooting himself accidentally in 2008. Ryan said the matchup is always intense, and that he didn't want to be the one to tell Burress he wouldn't play.

"If he can't play we'll definitely let someone else tell him that," quipped Ryan.

Burress said that playing against the Giants didn't carry any extra weight.

"I just want to go out and sharpen up my game a little, clean up my routes, not make too many mental errors and just try to play a well-rounded game," Burress said. "(I want to) just go out and just try to get myself into football shape."

Ryan said after the morning walk-through that they would evaluate Burress after individual drills. Considering that he played in the team drills, Burress must have passed the test.

"If we're playing a real game, he's going to play," Ryan said.

Burress sprained his ankle on Aug. 3 before he was set to take part in team drills at the Jets training camp. The injury, initially projected to keep Burress out for one or two practices, ultimately kept him out until last Wednesday. He had three full practices before catching a touchdown pass from Sanchez during a preseason game against the Bengals.

On Wednesday afternoon, the last official day of training camp at Florham Park, Burress caught one pass during team drills and jumped up to catch one in 7-on-7s.

Asked if he was concerned about the injuries to Burress, Sanchez shook his head.

"No," Sanchez said. "He's fine."

Also, backup quarterback Mark Brunell (right calf), offensive lineman Trevor Canfield (left knee) and tight end Jeff Cumberland (hamstring) didn't practice and likely won't play Saturday.

Jane McManus is a reporter and columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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