Lions' Nate Burleson aims to play

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson seems closer to returning to the field this week than he has since being injured after the third game of the season.

Burleson has been out since crashing his car into a median Sept. 24 as he tried to keep a pizza box from sliding off the seat. He broke his forearm and has missed seven games.

On Tuesday, he said he is preparing this week as if he is going to play Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I feel like I can go out there and be productive," Burleson said. "I caught the ball last week very well, ran some routes, had some physical contact. So this week is taking another step.

"Hopefully a full week of practice without any setbacks, this was around the date of my anticipated return anyway. Everything else was just going to be a bonus, me trying to rush back on the field, but I'm doing everything I can. We'll see what happens this week."

Burleson said he still needs to be cleared by the doctors to play Sunday, but he is planning on going into practice Wednesday as if he is part of the team's plans. On Monday, coach Jim Schwartz said it was a possibility Burleson could return this week.

Prior to his injury, Burleson had 19 receptions for 239 yards.

Burleson said it would take a "major setback" for him to not play Sunday.

"As far as the coaches and the doctors not allowing me to go out there on the field, my mindset is that I want to play," Burleson said. "I still got to meet with the doctors this week, still got to get clearance.

"I am not saying that I am playing for sure, but in my mind I'm going to wake up tomorrow in preparation to be on the field and get into the game plan and try to play on Sunday."