Still feeling the effects of a bout with acute gastritis, defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt thinks he's close to joining the action at Green Bay Packers training camp.
Hunt reported to camp on time last weekend along with his fellow veterans, but he's been unable to participate in any of the practices thus far due to his illness, which also includes a case of strep throat.
Hunt spent the first three days of training camp under quarantine, so as not to infect his teammates, but has watched the action of the last two days from the sidelines.
He could get on the practice field as early as Saturday, but his participation will be limited as he looks to regain his strength.
"I feel a lot better," Hunt said Friday afternoon. "I'm looking forward to being out here."
With Hunt unable to participate, the Packers have been especially thin along the defensive line where James Lee (hip), Joe Johnson (quadriceps), Terdell Sands (ankle), Rod Walker (shoulders) and Steve Warren (back), all have missed at least one practice due to injury.
"There's a lot of us kind of banged up," Hunt said. "It's like we're dropping like flies right now."
Entering his fifth NFL campaign, Hunt is coming off a 2002 season in which he established himself as a force at tackle, starting 14 games and making 48 tackles along with a career-best 5.5 sacks.
But as good as Hunt was last year, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman is expecting even more out of the 27-year-old in 2003.
"I don't think he's lived up to his capability yet," Sherman said at the Packers' annual stockholders' meeting last week. "He should be a dominant player in this league.
"I felt like at times last year, he was great. I thought at times he was average. He needs to be great every single play."
Hunt is unsure how long it will take him to fully recover. He's dropped a few pounds due to his illness, but said he's taken part in some light running and lifting in recent days and feels ready to go.
"I'll be anxious (to practice)," Hunt said. "I'm tired of standing on the sideline."