LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) -Tampa Bay's Chris Simms concedes it has taken longer than he hoped to recover from surgery to remove his spleen, however the Buccaneers quarterback remains optimistic about playing this season.
``I'm not quite where I need to be, and I've told you guys that,'' Simms said between practices at Disney World on Tuesday. ``I'm trying to work everything out to the point where I was last year before the injury, and I'm just not quite there yet.''
The 26-year-old was injured last September and has struggled to regain his form since receiving medical clearance to begin throwing in December. A sore arm has limited him in practice the past three days of training camp.
The Bucs disputed a published report suggesting that Simms, who's competing with two other quarterbacks for the backup job behind Jeff Garcia, could wind up being placed on injured reserve.
The St. Petersburg Times also said Simms is suffering from symptoms of irregular proprioception, which can affect a person's ability to sense where their arms and legs are in relation to the rest of the body.
The quarterback, who has struggled with the accuracy of his throws, said no doctors have told him the inconsistency is related to that.
``I was not aware of that term,'' Simms said of the newspaper report. ``I've learned a lot about it in the last 24 hours.''
Coach Jon Gruden said Simms has a sore elbow, but that he hopefully will be able to assume a greater workload in practice beginning Wednesday.
``My arm is a little sore. ... But it's nothing like crazy sore,'' Simms said. ``Don't make a big deal about it. It's nothing that I feel like's going to hurt my career or hurt me in camp. I'm OK, it's going to be fine.''
Simms' spleen was removed after he took several hard hits during a loss to Carolina on Sept. 24. Despite missing the final 13 weeks of the season, he signed a two-year, $7 million contract extension in December.
The Bucs signed Garcia as a free agent in March. Simms, Luke McCown and Bruce Gradkowski are candidates for the No. 2 job.
``I don't quite feel like myself; I don't know how to quite say it,'' Simms said. ``The only thing I can say to you is I'm going to continue to work and I'm not quite where I need to be.''
Asked if he thinks he could be headed for injured reserve, Simms said that's a question Gruden or general manager Bruce Allen are in a better position to answer.
``I would hope not. ... I don't feel that badly. I feel physically like I can take a hit,'' Simms said. ``I guess you could say (I'm) rusty, I just don't feel like I'm clicking on all cylinders.''
Gruden declined to speculate.
``I'm not a doctor. I don't think anybody in the media is a doctor. I just think you respect the situation with the facts that we have,'' Gruden said.
``Chris will be back, hopefully, in limited fashion tomorrow, and he'll be a more focal part of the practices once his elbow returns to full health. ... And, hopefully he'll be able to start making a run at this thing.''

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