CARLISLE, PA., AUG. 12 -- Washington Redskins tackle Joe Jacoby, who had major knee surgery after an injury in Week 10 last season, has been cleared to return to practice.

After spending most of this camp rehabilitating, he began contact last week, usually against a blocking sled or in one-on-one drills with defensive tackle Jumpy Geathers.

Coach Joe Gibbs doubted Jacoby would play in Friday's preseason game against Pittsburgh at RFK Stadium, but added: "Maybe he'll want to take some plays. He'll go at whatever pace he wants." . . .

Cornerback Brian Davis will return to practice "as soon as he feels he's ready," Gibbs said. Davis has a pulled thigh muscle for the third time in four years and visited a specialist Friday to try to find a reason for the recurring injury. Bryant Back

Running back Kelvin Bryant was used pretty much as expected in his first action since Week 10 of 1988. He touched the ball once in Saturday night's 31-27 loss, that when he caught Stan Humphries' third-down pass in the third quarter.

Earlier, he and Mark Rypien had misconnected on a pass into the right flat that, according to Rypien, "was a touchdown. We're up 14-0 and looking at 21-0 if we make that play."

If the evening was emotional or special for Bryant, he kept his thoughts mostly to himself. Not only was he back in pro football, he was returning to his college campus. It was Bryant and Lawrence Taylor who brought the University of North Carolina some of its greatest football glory and the crowd acknowledged him warmly.

"It's always a good feeling when you come back where you played college football," he said. "I always like coming back."

He once refused to accept Gibbs's plans to make him a third-down back but, having suffered so many physical breakdowns, he apparently has changed his mind.

"I hope I don't have to prove I can catch the ball and block," he said. "I think that if I play this year it'll be mainly in passing situations. I worked real hard during the offseason and I feel like I'm ready to go."Milling Home Too

The Falcons' James Milling, a former Maryland star, was also returning to the scene of one of his greatest performances. The Terrapins lost, 32-30, at Kenan Stadium in 1986, but he caught three touchdown passes.

He very nearly duplicated that Saturday night, catching five passes for 79 yards, including two fourth-quarter touchdown passes from Gilbert Renfroe.

Milling revealed that before that 1986 game he had overslept and was late for practice the day before the game. "I didn't think I was going to play," he said. "I got into a lot of trouble. But Coach {Bobby} Ross decided the night before to let me play." . . .

A few tickets remain for Friday's game against the Steelers.