Tarvaris Jackson spent another practice Tuesday doing limited work in his quest to return to action this preseason.
Jackson suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee during the first quarter of Saturday's preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, and head coach Brad Childress has been pushing Jackson this week as if he were preparing for a regular-season game.
Childress said he hasn't yet made a decision about Jackson's status for Saturday's third preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which is the preseason game in which the starters receive the most action.
"When I say we're pushing the thing getting ready for Saturday, I understand the urgency if it was a regular-season game, but we're treating it as if it were a regular-season game," Childress said following Tuesday practice. "I want to see how far he can come in that period of time and which faculties he has as he goes in there."
Childress has said in the past that he wants to see Jackson stay healthy enough to play more than the 12 starts he was able to make last season, when he suffered three different injuries that held him out of action. Jackson is now wearing a custom-made brace while taking part in practice on a limited basis.
"They build it so it's custom fit and really part of your leg," Childress said. "Very similar to what Adrian (Peterson) wore. It will be a thing that he could play out of, too. Most of those guys don't like to be braced."
Wide receiver Bobby Wade said the offense for Saturday's game against Pittsburgh won't be dictated by who is playing quarterback.
"I think we just run our base offense, what's installed regardless of who is going to play," Wade said. "It's the same thing with the twos and threes – when the ones come out, the same offense is installed, the same plays are called."
In a game in which the starters would typically play through the first half and then a series or two after halftime, Childress said the team was already considering have Frerotte enter the game after halftime, even before Jackson hurt his knee on a 9-yard scramble.
"We had a plan in place where we would play these guys through the half and we were talking about the fact that Gus needed some snaps with the (first-team offense). I know it's easy for me to say after Tarvaris gets hurt, but (Frerotte) needed some snaps as opposed to having the (second-team) offensive line and the (second-team) wide receivers to throw to," Childress said. "So we actually were going to bring him out after the half with the ones in this game and perhaps he'll get a chance to start with the ones. We'll just have to see when we get to Saturday."
Wade said that if Jackson doesn't start on Saturday, the first-team offensive players have been around him enough since the start of the offseason that it wouldn't really affect them whenever Jackson returns.
"I don't think it will be a letdown if he plays or doesn't play," Wade said.
But Childress seemed to imply that Jackson would receive work at some point before the regular season.
"He's going to get more work. It's not like he's going to show up for the regular season and just start playing," Childress said.