Aaron Schobel doesn't know for sure if he'll be able to play on Sunday against Miami, but he does know his ailing foot has improved to the point where surgery won't be necessary.
"I'm hopeful that I'll play before the year is out," said Schobel. "I'm not saying this week, but it's definitely improving and that's the main thing because this is a deal that can (affect) you for two years. At this point it's almost a career issue. You get up in age and the (stuff) starts bothering you all the time… I don't know. I'm glad the thing is going to heal on its own and I won't have to have surgery."
Schobel has been on the shelf for a while with a lingering foot injury. On Wednesday his time on the sidelines came to an end as he took to the practice field with his teammates for the first time in two months and worked with the starting unit.
"He came back after a long time and he worked pretty hard" said head coach Dick Jauron. "We'll wait and see how it responds and go through the next couple of days. But he did go through the practice and he did push it pretty hard."
Schobel felt it was a positive first step, but doesn't believe he's all the way back just yet.
"For the most part, but on some plays it bothered me," said Schobel. "It's definitely better than it was four weeks ago and eight weeks ago. So it's improving. As far as it being 100 percent it's not."
His approach is to see how the foot holds up through the practice week.
"I guess we're going to take it day to day," he said. "If I feel by Friday I've gotten better where I feel stronger then I'll try to go. If I feel it's really bothering me and I have to pull up all the time it ain't worth playing because I'll screw up the team."
Schobel admitted the one time he really tried to push it was when he was forced to pull up in practice calling it the only negative in his first practice work.
Having been off the foot for some time, Schobel isn't concerned about game shape being an issue if he's able to play on Sunday.
"I think if I had to play in Miami game shape would be an issue, but when it's cool or inside it usually doesn't bother me," he said. "I'm sure I'm going to get tired, but we always rotate and we'll rotate and if I'm tired I'll come out and go from there."
Making the decision on playing Sunday is still a couple of days off, but minutes after Wednesday's practice concluded he already committed to practicing Thursday.
"I'm going to go through practice again (Thursday) and see if it's better, worse or the same and we'll make a decision based off of what I tell them," Schobel said. "If I feel like it can hold up I should be able to play. If it won't I probably won't. I guess in the end it's my decision, but there were some plays that felt good."