Tebow returns to practice in pads; status against No. 4 LSU unclear

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Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was cleared to practice Tuesday and took about half of the first-team snaps, but it still remains unclear whether the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner will be cleared to play against No. 4 LSU on Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.

Tebow, who suffered a concussion suffered against Kentucky on Sept. 26, was cleared to practice without contact by a team of physicians that included Pittsburgh-based consultant Dr. Mickey Collins, one of the nation's leading experts on the treatment of concussions. Gators coach Urban Meyer said Tebow looked "a little rusty," but he said Tebow has improved tremendously since the injury. During the third quarter of Florida's win at Kentucky, Tebow was hit hard by Wildcats defensive end Taylor Wyndham, and as he fell, Tebow's head slammed into the knee of Florida offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert.

Now, Meyer and his staff must wait for doctors to clear Tebow to play in a game. "He has not been cleared to play in the game Saturday night," Meyer said. "Absolutely not. That has not happened yet."

If doctors clear Tebow, then Meyer and his staff must decide whether Tebow -- who has practiced little since the injury -- gives the Gators the best chance to beat the Tigers. Redshirt sophomore John Brantley has taken the bulk of the first-team snaps since Tebow's injury. "There are two issues," Meyer said. "The safety of Tim Tebow, and, obviously, the football team."

Last week, Tebow was forbidden from reading or watching television. Meyer said doctors wanted Tebow to avoid focusing on anything for too long. By the weekend, that ban had been lifted. Meyer reported Monday that Tebow was performing well in tests. Meyer said Tebow lifted weights Monday.

Tebow took a baseline test in June to be used as a comparison if he ever suffered a concussion. Florida uses the ImPACT test (link: http://www.impacttest.com/) as well as the Balance Equlibrium Scoring System (BESS) and the Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC) protocol. Meyer said Tebow has taken daily tests since suffering the concussion to determine how close he is to his baseline measurements.

Meyer said doctors wanted to re-evaluate Tebow after Tuesday's practice. If all goes well, they'd like to see him try to do more on Wednesday. Whether that will convince them to clear Tebow to play against LSU remains to be seen, but Meyer was pleased with what he saw Tuesday. "He looked like Tim Tebow out there today," Meyer said.

AP:Tebow not cleared to practice, play LSU