ALBANY, N.Y. -- Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burress said he won't practice with the New York Giants until his troublesome right ankle is healthy.
"Of course I definitely want to be out there," Burress said Sunday after watching the morning workout at the University at Albany. "Like I said, Plaxico Burress has to take care of Plaxico Burress."
Burress, who caught the game-winning pass in the upset of the New England Patriots, has not practiced since the Giants opened training camp on July 25. The last time he practiced was before the Super Bowl. He skipped the optional offseason workouts and refused to take part in the veteran minicamp in June because his contract, which will pay him $3.25 million this season, was not renegotiated.
The veteran wide receiver noted Sunday that he has given up hope that he will get a new deal, although general manager Jerry Reese said that the team hopes to have a new one by the start of the season.
While a new contract might help, the big issue for Burress is his ankle. He is determined not to let it bother him all season. He injured it in training camp last season and practiced less than 10 times because it hurt too much.
The right ankle is the same one that prevented him from practicing last season, but the injury is different. Doctors are trying to stabilize it with orthotics.
"I have to make all the right judgments as far as my health, as far as my ankle, before I go out there on the football field," Burress said. "When I go out on that football field, I want to be running 100 mph with no restrictions. That's what I am trying to accomplish being on the sidelines, getting healthy and going out and being explosive and jumping up in the air and catching balls."
Despite his limited practice time, Burress had a team-high 70 catches for 1,025 yards, combining with Eli Manning for a career-best 12 touchdowns last season.
Coach Tom Coughlin has said he would like Burress to practice before the team breaks camp next Sunday.
Burress doesn't know if that will happen. He is receiving treatment three times a day.
"I probably could get out there, but I want be to my normal self, like I know I can and that's what I want to accomplish," Burress said. "Why wouldn't everybody want that from me? I think everyone would be a lot happier when I am 100 percent. I know my quarterback would be. I don't see why there is a problem."
Getting used to the orthotics is taking time, Burress said. He started some light running last week and feels he is making progress. He insisted no one in the organization is pushing him to practice.
"Like I said, they would like to have me out there, but they know nobody wants to get healthy more than me," Burress said. "I mean, I am excited about being 100 percent because I know I have a pretty good idea of some of the things I can do. I can take my game to the next level, so to speak. That's what I want more than anything."
Burress felt his performance last season was worthy of the Pro Bowl, considering he limped around most of the season. He also criticized the Pro Bowl selections, saying a receiver with two touchdowns (Donald Driver of Green Bay) was picked over him.
Driver had 82 catches for 1,048 yards.
"I don't think 100 receptions for a guy like myself is possible," Burress said. "You know for a guy who has not been to the Pro Bowl, I get double- and triple-teamed enough. I don't set goals. I just try to go out and dominate each week."
Burress said his hope for a new contract is "long gone." He said he does not expect Drew Rosenhaus, his agent, to return to Albany again. Rosenhaus was here last week to talk to the Giants.
Reese thought otherwise.
"I'm optimistic we'll get something done," he said.
Either way, Burress is waiting on his ankle to heal so he can "dominate and rip it up."
"I just want to get healthy," he said. "I am going to go out and do things that I am capable of doing when I get healthy. I think everybody around here will have a lot of appreciation for that when I am on the football field when I am healthy."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press