Tedy Bruschi returned to practice yesterday with a cast on his surgically repaired right wrist and was listed as questionable for the New England Patriots' season opener Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
The inside linebacker, who broke his wrist on the fourth day of training camp July 31, was on the field for the stretching period that was open to the media. The injury report issued later yesterday said that Bruschi missed a portion of the practice.
Bruschi, entering his 11th season, missed the first six games last year after suffering a stroke the previous February. But he played well enough in 10 games to be the co-Comeback Player of the Year with the Carolina Panthers' Steve Smith.
After Bruschi broke his wrist this summer, the Patriots signed 17-year veteran Junior Seau to play inside linebacker four days after he announced his retirement.
"He's getting better every day," coach Bill Belichick said of Bruschi before practice. "He's day-to-day."
Even when he was away from the field, Bruschi was involved in team meetings and helped Seau get acclimated to the defense.
"Tedy has been very involved in everything and he's great about that, just like he was last year with some of the new guys that have played in there," Belichick said. "Overall, it's a good group and they work well together and that includes all of them. Tedy is a big part of that."
He also said there's no doubt Bruschi would play with a cast when he returns.
Buccaneers -- Rookie offensive lineman Davin Joseph will miss the opener against the Ravens after spraining his right knee during practice. Coach Jon Gruden said a magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed that the injury is not as serious as Tampa Bay feared and that the first-round draft pick is week-to- week. Joseph was hurt Wednesday when a defender fell on his leg. "We don't believe it is a serious injury. ... We hope to get him back sooner than later," Gruden said. "It was a basic play. We had a collision and a defender landed on his extended leg. Sometimes those things happen. They're rare. But usually when you see a lineman hurt, that's the case." Joseph was the 23rd player selected in the draft and won the right guard job in training camp. He will be replaced by third-year pro Jeb Terry, who will make his first career start Sunday.
Chiefs -- Quarterback Trent Green said he would welcome back suspended offensive lineman John Welbourn, who has missed 10 games in two years for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing drugs. "I think John could help the team. He's obviously a gifted player and started a lot of games for us," Green said. "If he comes back and is ready to play and can help the team, I think everybody would be pretty open to that." The NFL announced that Welbourn, who retired in June but later asked for reinstatement, had been suspended for six games.
Panthers -- Receiver Steve Smith missed practice again and remains questionable for the season opener against the Falcons. "Right now it's day-to-day, and when it comes down to Sunday it will be a game day decision," coach John Fox said. Smith was limited to 10 practices in the preseason because of a strained left hamstring and an ingrown toenail that required stitches. He did not play in any of Carolina's four preseason games.
Seahawks -- Starting outside linebacker Leroy Hill was added to the team's injury list as questionable for Sunday's season opener at Detroit. Hill, a third-round draft choice in 2005 from Clemson who set a Seattle rookie record with 7 1/2 sacks, injured his left shoulder early in Wednesday's full-pads practice.