HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- One game away was long enough for Laveranues Coles.
The New York Jets wide receiver has been practicing with the team since last week after missing a game with a concussion, and hopes to play Sunday against Pittsburgh. Coles also intends to play with the same intensity he always does, despite suffering what was believed to be his second concussion in 10 months.
"I can't play with hesitation," he said Thursday. "I mean, whatever happens, it doesn't slow you down. If you know anything about the game, you'll understand that you can't do that. When you play tentative, that's when things start to happen to you. You always have to go full speed."
Coles, who doesn't appear on the team's injury report, was injured on a hard tackle during the Jets' 13-3 loss to Buffalo on Oct. 28. He sat out the Jets' game against Washington the following Sunday, ending his streaks of 104 consecutive starts and 107 straight games played.
"You never know how important something is until you face certain situations in your life," he said. "I realized how much I love the game of football and I'm ready to get back out there and start playing."
Coles was cleared by doctors to practice last Monday and was on the field in a red no-contact jersey last week before the team broke for its bye. He's back in his regular jersey this week and hasn't felt rusty despite not playing in a game in a while.
"It hasn't been three weeks because I got a chance to practice last week," he said. "I've been playing football. I treat practices like games and I enjoy doing it and have fun while I'm doing it."
Coles, who set a career high last season with 91 catches, is second to Jerricho Cotchery with 42 receptions for 473 yards. He also has a team-leading six touchdowns, making him a marked man by opposing defenses every week. Coles doesn't think his injury will make the Steelers key in on him more than usual.
"I think I get enough attention as is, week in and week out," he said. "When most teams see me on the field, they try to find where I am, and of course, they try to design defenses and set up things to try to take me away."
The Jets have a short injury list coming out of the bye. Only wide receiver Chris Davis, who injured a shoulder against the Redskins, defensive lineman Dewayne Robertson (knee) and fullback Stacy Tutt, who hurt a knee during practice Thursday, were limited.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press