New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi has been cleared by team doctors and could return to practice this week, eight months after suffering a mild stroke.

Bruschi, 32, originally planned to take a year off after the stroke in February and surgery to repair a small hole in his heart a month later. But as his health improved, Bruschi started traveling to see specialists and got favorable reports.

Bruschi was cleared yesterday to return to practice this week, though the Patriots said the timetable for his return will be left up to him and his family.

"Physically, Tedy is completely back to normal and is completely healthy," said David Greer, a specialist who has monitored Bruschi since his stroke.

"I have no doubt that he will be able to perform physically at a very high level. Tedy's safety, on and off the field, has always been our number one priority. At this time, I have advised him that, in my opinion, there are no medical reasons for him to delay his return to football."

* MOSS HURTS GROIN: Raiders wide receiver Randy Moss injured his groin against the Chargers when he crashed hard to the ground after trying to make a leaping catch in the first quarter. He returned for one play, then did not reenter the game after that. . . .

Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme and linebacker Dan Morgan left the game against the Lions with injuries.

Delhomme was knocked out during Carolina's game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter when he slid and was hit by safety Kenoy Kennedy, who was called for a personal foul. Morgan hurt his shoulder early in the second half and didn't return. . . .

Buccaneers quarterback Brian Griese missed the second half against the Dolphins with a sprained left knee. The team said Griese was taken to a hospital for tests and would undergo further evaluation.

-- From News Services