Buffalo Bills defensive end Bruce Smith began practicing with the team and team physician Dr. Richard Weiss said that "hopefully, he will play" Sunday against the New York Jets.
Smith said two weeks ago on his weekly radio show that he was targeting the Jets game for his return from a knee injury that has kept him out of all but one game this season.
But the defensive end backed off that statement when he spoke on his show Monday night and head coach Marv Levy said no decision would be made until Saturday night.
* GIANTS: Defensive end Lawrence Taylor's status for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals remains uncertain. He suffered a sprained left knee against Tampa Bay, but head coach Ray Handley said, "We'll have to see how it responds in the course of the week. If there is any guy who can humanly will himself to get better and play, it's Lawrence."
Meanwhile, quarterback Jeff Hostetler, who broke three bones in his back in the same game, was released from a Tampa Bay hospital yesterday and returned home. And it was possible he would be hospitalized again.
* PACKERS: Ron Wolf was named vice president of operations for the Green Bay Packers, replacing Tom Braatz, fired last week.
Wolf quit as New York Jets director of player personnel to take the job and apparently will get considerable decision-making power, including, sources say, whether coach Lindy Infante stays or goes.