Pro Bowl wide receiver Marvin Harrison has been cleared to play Sunday against New England, but the final decision probably will be based on what's best in the long term.
"If it was a playoff game, he'd definitely be playing," Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy said Friday. "We want him to be ready coming down the stretch. If the doctors say we really have a much better chance of him being healthy down the stretch by sitting out, then we'll sit him out."
The status of three other starters, left tackle Tony Ugoh (neck) and linebackers Tyjuan Hagler (neck) and Freddy Keiaho (ear) probably will be game-time decisions, Dungy said. All were limited practice participants Friday.
Aside from the first 10 minutes, practice was closed to media this week, but rookie wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez said he took most of Harrison's reps.
Harrison has missed two of the past three games with what the Colts have described as a bruised left knee. He was held out of practice all week. Dungy said Harrison wants to play but the decision will be based on a consensus of Harrison, team physicians and the coaching staff.
Late Friday afternoon, the Colts issued a statement rebutting an ESPN report that Harrison is suffering knee pain that is likely to persist the remainder of the season and perhaps for the rest of his career.
The Colts' statement said the club has "received no medical opinion that comes close to validating the report."