DAVIE, Fla. Reggie Bush vows to play Sunday. But a guy whose opinion is more important is not being as definitive.
The Dolphins running back suffered a bruised left knee last Sunday against the New York Jets and didn't play in the second half. He didn't practice Wednesday, but that doesn't matter to Bush.
"I'll tell you right now, I'm playing,'' Bush said of Sunday's game at Arizona. "But I'm sure that's why I'm not the head coach."
Unless there are any plans this week to name Bush player-coach, having a lot more say in the matter is Dolphins coach Joe Philbin. As one would expect, he played it coy Wednesday.
"You need to trust your eyes, watch the film and see where he is at," said Philbin, who will consult as the week goes on with the Dolphins medical staff. "Obviously, the health and safety of the players is the No. 1 concern . I'm sure if he's healthy enough, he'll play. If he is not, then he won't.
Linebacker Karlos Dansby doesn't have a vote. If Dansby did, he would side with Bush and put him in against the Cardinals.
"Hell, yeah, Reggie is going to play," Dansby said. "He's Reggie Bush. If you know Reg, he'll do everything in his power to be back."
The Dolphins did nothing more than note on an injury report Wednesday that Bush didn't practice. But Dansby was more descriptive.
"He was out there moving around a bit," Dansby said. "He's not moving full speed, but he's moving around, so that's a good sign in my eyes."
Dansby called Sunday's game a "must win" for the 1-2 Dolphins. It sure would help if Bush plays.
After rushing for 172 yards and being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 16 against Oakland, Bush looked bound for another 100-yard outing on Sunday. But he took a hit just before halftime of the 23-20 overtime loss to the Jets, leaving for good with 61 yards.
Bush's exit caused plenty of controversy. After the game, Jets linebacker Calvin Pace said "we had to put him on out." Pace clarified Monday he simply used a poor choice of words and there was no bounty or anything on Bush.
Jets coach Rex Ryan had said before Sunday's game his team had to put some "hot sauce" on Bush. Bush didn't like that comment and went so far Tuesday as to say on a South Florida radio station that karma led to Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis suffering a torn ACL against the Dolphins, ending his season.
"It's like the old saying, what goes around comes around, Bush said on his weekly appearance on WBGG-FM. "They talked about all week about putting hot sauce and this and that, and they ended up losing their best player for the rest of the season. So, it's sad that it happened because of that, but I'm going to be back.
Bush was much less controversial Wednesday.
"You know what, it's a physical game and there's a lot of contact," Bush said. "I don't know, maybe comments made it seem like that throughout the week. But I knew that, if my name's getting mentioned by the head coach, then I guess I'm doing something right.
Ryan claimed on Wednesday that Bush "misinterpreted my comment" and that "hot sauce" means to "pour a ton of attention on him." Nevertheless, some spice has been added to Oct. 28, when the teams have a rematch on Jets turf.
For now, though, the Dolphins have a big game Sunday. Bush knows there's quite a difference between being 2-2 and 1-3.
"It's extremely important for us," Bush said of playing at Arizona, one of just three 3-0 NFL outfits. "Obviously, the games don't get any easier. This is about as tough as it's going to get at a Week 4. This is extremely important for us to get .500 and not fall back (to 1-3)."
It would make it a lot easier for the Dolphins if Bush plays and maintains his recent form. Despite missing one entire half, he's fifth in the NFL in rushing with 302 yards, just 21 behind leader Jamaal Charles of Kansas City.
Bush rushed for 519 yards in the final four games he played last season. So that gives him 821 over his past seven.
Bush was said to have been walking gingerly after Sunday's game. But he got good news Monday when an MRI showed no structural damage.
"I've been on the positive side of hits, and you think it's worse than it was and it ends up not being, and I've been on the other side," Bush said. "You just never know and thankfully everything was good and I'm all right, still walking."
Bush said Wednesday he felt "a lot better than he had anticipated he would and has "made a lot of strides." That's why he vows to be ready Sunday.
"If it was up to me, I'd be playing no matter what," he said.
He knows, though, that nobody calls him Coach Bush.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson