- Associated Press - Monday, October 25, 2010

METAIRIE, LA. (AP) - Reggie Bush expressed optimism on Monday that he would be able to practice this week on his healing right leg and possibly play on Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Saints’ running back, who has missed five games since fracturing his right fibula in Week 2, says team doctors have told him he has healed enough to test his leg at full-speed.

Bush said his plan was to try to do that when the Saints return to practice on Wednesday.

“I expect to go out there and see what I can do,” Bush said. “I don’t know if I can practice, if I’m going to be 100 percent. I’m just going to go out there and give it my best shot. I feel good, but I haven’t gone out there.”


Bush said his leg has responded well to strength and conditioning exercises with the training staff during the past few weeks.

However, he cautioned that he is not sure how he’ll feel when he tries to make sharp, lateral cuts typically required of him during games. Bush said doctors have told him he’ll know he’s ready to play when he can tolerate those types of football moves.

“I’m an explosive player, so it’s different doing things in the training room than getting out there on the football field and making those hard cuts and routes and all those things,” Bush said. “I’ve got to play a whole football game, not just an hour in the training room.”

Bush’s injury occurred when players piled on him while he recovered his muffed punt during the fourth quarter of the Saints’ 25-22 win at San Francisco.

Before his injury, Bush had been most effective in the passing and punt return games. He had a 6-yard touchdown catch and 43-yard punt return at San Francisco.

He was off to a slow start as a rusher, gaining only 18 yards on seven carries.

The Saints (4-3) have gone 2-3 in the five games Bush has missed. Although he is not always prolific, the Saints consider him a threat to score at any time and value his versatility.

“It’s going to be wait and see this week,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “We’re optimistic, yet we’re guarded. I think we just have to pay attention to how this work week goes.”

Bush said he is eager to return, but must be cautious.

“It’s all about being safe and being 100 percent and being sure that you’re ready to go out there and contribute without having any lingering pain or nagging injuries or anything like that,” he said.