Matthew Stafford’s injured ankle shows improvement

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ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford worked with the first team at practice Thursday, a sign of progress after he hurt his ankle last weekend.

Stafford was limited Wednesday, but he looked comfortable a day later in the portion of practice open to reporters. He hurt his right ankle late in Sunday’s 23-16 loss to Atlanta.

Detroit plays at Denver this Sunday. Stafford has completed 60 percent of his passes, for 1,912 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Although coach Jim Schwartz was guarded with his optimism, and Stafford was listed as limited Thursday, wide receiver Nate Burleson was impressed with the quarterback’s recovery.

“For anybody wondering if he’s tough, he definitely is,” Burleson said. “Today he took every single rep, so he’s ready to rock.”

Burleson said Stafford’s ankle was black and blue Wednesday, but he’s participated in practice anyway.

Giants’ Tuck anticipates playing against Dolphins

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Two-time Pro Bowler Justin Tuck, who has missed the past three games with neck and groin injuries, is expected to play against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Tuck said he is excited at the prospect of playing, but he has concerns, especially since the neck injury has been the biggest problem.

Around the league

* BEARS: Chicago released veteran safety Chris Harris after he asked for a trade, ending his second run with the team. Harris was beaten for a touchdown pass and dropped an interception Sunday against Tampa Bay. He had asked for a trade two weeks ago and was inactive against Minnesota on Oct. 16, but then started Sunday in London against the Buccaneers.

TITANS: Tennessee quarterback Matt Hasselbeck practiced Thursday, saying his right thumb feel fine. Hasselbeck was injured during Tennessee’s 41-7 loss to Houston last Sunday when he hit his throwing hand on the arm or elbow of a defensive player.

BROWNS: Cleveland running back Peyton Hillis is not practicing one day after returning from a strained left hamstring. Hillis missed Sunday’s game against Seattle with the injury and practiced Wednesday for the first time since he was hurt Oct. 16 at Oakland. Browns coach Pat Shurmur said he does not know if Hillis will be available Sunday at San Francisco.

DOLPHINS: An official scoring change is giving Miami credit for six sacks instead of seven on Denver quarterback Tim Tebow last Sunday. A second-quarter play originally ruled a sack was a designed run by Tebow.

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