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FLORHAM PARK, N.J.—After an injury in the first preseason game of the year, Jets fans haven’t seen Eric Smith on the field and contributing at safety. The good news is that the countdown on his return might be coming to an end.

Head coach Rex Ryan upgraded Smith on Thursday, saying that his safety is “limited” in practice after having been relegated to working with the trainers the past couple weeks. Smith had knee and hip injuries that kept him from his normal heavy workload on the team and he sighed a bit when asked about his health and a possible return this Sunday in Miami.

“I’m tired of being asked that. Feeling better than I was, making progress,” Smith told The Jets Blog.

“We got a couple days left, I’m progressing. Looking forward to getting out there and actually doing something.”

Thursday represented Smith’s most extensive practice since the injury and he felt fine running with the defense, even if he was still limited in what he could do on the field.

“A little bit [rusty] because it’s been awhile since I played football. As far as running around and stuff, I felt pretty good,” Smith said.

There was no particular benchmark in his recovery that ushered in the upgrade of his status. While he won’t give a percentage on the likelihood of his return this weekend in SunLife Stadium, it was still a positive sign to see the veteran safety on the field and active again, even if slightly rusty.

“Just kind of the way the progression went, it wasn’t a big jump. We didn’t want to have any setbacks, that’s the big thing so we were patient with it,” Smith said. “I feel good.”

Kristian R. Dyer covers the Jets for Metro New York and contributes to Yahoo!Sports. He can be followed for Jets news @KristianRDyer on Twitter.

Tags: New York Jets, News, Editorial Aside, safety, Reports, Player Profile, Eric Smith, Rex Ryan, NYJets
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