Safety Tom Zbikowski returned to practice this week for the first time in over a month after injuring his right heel in a Week 6 loss to the Patriots, and he had full practices each of the last two days.
But while he says his heel is feeling good, the three-year veteran seems apprehensive about returning to the field for this Sunday's game against the Buccaneers
"It's one of those things you want to be smart with, because if you rush, you can re-injure it," Zbikowski said. "For one game, is it really worth it? I'm dying to get back out there, and as a competitor, I want to be out there now, but as a professional, which is what you've got to be, this is my future.
"It's hard to put yourself at risk with an injury like that. You just want to make sure that you'll be ready to go."
Head coach John Harbaugh said that he liked what he saw from Zbikowski this week, and thinks it will likely be a game-time decision whether Zibby can suit up on Sunday.
"I think he's practiced really well. Haven't seen any ill effects," Harbaugh said. "We'll have to see how he feels Sunday before the game, really, just to make sure it's strong enough. You want to make sure the guy can get through the whole game. That's the bottom line."
Zbikowski spent part of his time off in a walking boot, and only within the last couple weeks has he been able to start moving around again. He is using orthodics to provide support for the injured heel, and will wear a special larger cleat on the right foot for extra protection.
The Notre Dame product said that the practices went well the last few days, and his heel responded well to the increased workload.
"It feels pretty good," he said. "It gets a little sore, just because I haven't used it, but not painful in a bad injury way, painful in a getting stronger, sore from not doing much [kind of way]."
Still, he's hesitant to put himself, or his team, at risk on Sunday.
"Had five weeks off, so being able to run and sprint to stuff is one thing, but being in an uncontrolled environment and having to cover NFL receivers is another," Zbikowski said. "I don't really want to put the team in jeopardy. If I'm not 100 percent, I'm going to be detrimental to the team."