METAIRIE, La. ― Cornerback Tracy Porter returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis and that has the third-year defensive back smiling and ready to talk.

It also has him itching to return to game action.

'To be honest, I'd like to, as any competitor would like to play,' Porter said. 'But I want to be smart, just as my coaches and my trainers want to be smart with me as well. If they don't feel it's the right time, they're going to hold me out. But if they tell me I can go, I'm definitely going to be happy and excited about that.'

Porter tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee in New Orleans' Oct. 3 game against Carolina.

He has been rehabbing every since and Thursday became his first day back practicing since the injury.

He said the knee isn't sore anymore after running and that once he had surgery, the process was more about building back the muscle than anything else.

Mentally he said he has moved one from the surgery.

'You're going to be mentally cautious on your own,' Porter said. 'Once you get the groove back and you start running, you kind of put that behind you. But at the same time, you don't want to completely block it out. You want to be cautious of it because you don't want to overdo it.'

But when asked whether he would return this week or not, he said he wasn't sure. And unlike when injured players have played coy in the past, he said he really means it.

'I don't know (he'll play),' Porter said. 'I can't give anything away that I don't know.'

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