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Plaxico Burress still not cleared

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who rolled his left ankle during an informal workout last week in training camp, still hasn't been cleared to practice fully. In fact, he didn't participate in any team drills Tuesday -- a small step backward.

"I don't think full yet," coach Rex Ryan said before practice, which was moved indoors because of rain. "We're just trying to avoid that big setback, but he's doing more and more."

That was the hope, but Burress was limited to individual and positional drills -- one day after taking three team reps.

Burress, who signed a one-year, $3 million contract the day camp opened, missed two practices last week after hurting his ankle while running pass routes in the field house with teammate Santonio Holmes. Prior to that, he had to watch for three days while the new CBA was ratified, per the post-lockout rules.

Burress returned Sunday, but he took only one rep in a team drill -- and he had to sneak in without the coaches' permission. On Monday, he increased to three reps, continuing his gradual build-up -- until Tuesday.

The Jets open the preseason Monday night at the Houston Texans. If Burress plays -- a big if -- it probably would be only a brief appearance.

"When you see him, to me, I've never seen a guy his size move as quick as he does," cornerback Antonio Cromartie said of the 6-foot-5 receiver.
"He's definitely quick. I'm just anxious for him to go out and show everybody that he can still play at this level."

The Jets fortified their receiving corps Sunday, signing free agent Derrick Mason. Mason, 37, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens, has practiced fully for two days, already making an impact with the starting offense.

Running back Joe McKnight (ankle) missed practice. He could be the Jets' No. 1 kickoff returner and he also could be used in the Wildcat package, replacing Brad Smith, who signed with the Buffalo Bills.

Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, a first-round pick, sat out for team drills because of a hip injury. He could've practiced, but he was held out for precautionary reasons, according to the team.

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.