ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Champ Bailey is "on the right track," but whether that leads to being in uniform for Thursday's regular-season opener remains to be determined.
Bailey was on hand for practice but did not take part, and expects a decision to come close to game time.
"Well, right now, it's still up in the air. I just want to make sure I keep getting better every day. Then we'll see how it feels," he said.
"I'm going to push myself a little more every day and then kind of evaluate myself when it gets to game time."
Bailey sprained his foot in the second quarter of the preseason loss at Seattle on Aug. 17 and has not practiced since. But as frustrating as the injury has been the last two weeks, he remains relieved it was not worse.
"Absolutely. At my age, you don't want to tear anything. I don't think anybody wants to do that. It was definitely a relief that the diagnosis was good," he said.
Still, "good" in this case means potentially missing Thursday's game.
"If Champ can't play, we're definitely going to miss his leadership and his playmaking ability out there," said linebacker Wesley Woodyard. "Champ gives us that edge on knowing exactly what the offense is doing and thinking, so that'll always be hard to replace. But guys are ready to step up."
Those players include Chris Harris, listed as Bailey's backup at left cornerback, and Tony Carter, who would slide up to be the No. 3 cornerback if Bailey can't play. Carter handled that role last year when Bailey and Harris were the first-team duo, so the only fundamental change would involve free-agent Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Nevertheless, Bailey will hold out hope until the last possible minute.
"I'm very close," he said.