McNabb: 'You Just Never Know' but Kolb to work with starters

Teammates watch Donovan McNabb roll over after being injured in the third quarter. ( Ron Cortes / Staff Photographer )

Donovan McNabb will "struggle" to practice this week as the Eagles begin preparations for the home opener against New Orleans, coach Andy Reid said, but remains hopeful of playing.

Kevin Kolb will practice with the first team and be the starting quarterback if McNabb can't play, Reid said.

McNabb suffered a cracked rib in the victory over Carolina on a rushing touchdown in the third quarter.

The Eagles provided some McNabb comments through a team spokesman.

Asked if he had a sense of whether he can play Sunday, McNabb said: "Not necessarily, anything can happen. It’s just Monday right now, but if Friday and Saturday come along and I’m feeling a lot better, you just never know.”


That sounded a lot like "no way."

“He is sore," Reid said. "He’s going to try to do everything he possibly can to play this week. We’ll see how it goes. He’s staying optimistic.”Kevin Kolb has never had a chance to prepare as a starter and start in the NFL

Kolb described McNabb as "super sore" Monday. McNabb was heavily taped as he walked down a corridor at the NovaCare Complex.

McNabb's agent, Fletcher Smith, was asked by the Daily News if he thought there was any way McNabb could play this week. "I don't know yet. It's too early in the week to say," Smith replied.

“You don’t want to make it worse," Reid added. "I’m not sure it is that type of situation. It’s broken ... We just have to see how he can function. I’m not going to put him out there, obviously, if he can’t function.”

Reid said McNabb’s broken rib is on the back right side. He described it as “displaced and pretty painful.”

“A lot of guys have played with broken ribs,” Reid said. “They are all different. It’s hard to compare.”

Asked if McNabb could play without practicing this week, “We’ve seen him do that before. He played a pretty good game. We’ll just take it day-by-day. We just want to get him back healthy.”

McNabb, asked about treatment, said: “It’s a slow process of just meeting with our trainers, doing two-a-days with treatment, going through the process of just like I’m playing in the game, and seeing how I feel at the end [of the week].”

McNabb also said: "It’s most important to just take care of the body, relax and give it an opportunity to heal.”

As we reported earlier, the NFL has ruled there was not an illegal hit on the play and won’t discipline the Panthers players involved. “I can’t say anything on that,” Reid said. “You get those 300-pound guys … Sometimes they come in a little bit late. I’ll take it from there.”

Reid said he and general manager Tom Heckert are still meeting and have not made any decisions on a second quarterback.

"We have not done anything with the second position," Reid said. "Obviously, Michael Vick still is not eligible to play this week. I have not made any decision to take him off the exempt list or not. Tom and I are still meeting on some personell things."

Reid said they have not decided about removing Vick from the exempt list, so he can practice with the team. That now becomes more complicated, since someone will have to leave the roster when Vick is added, and the Eagles might need a spot for another quarterback, as well.

Asked about Kolb, Reid said, "We’re all confident in Kevin, the coaches and players. Given the opportunity, he can do a nice job.”

Of the possibility of signing A.J. Feeley, Reid said, "We have a lot of respect for A.J. I know other people in this league do, too. You don’t know about the injuries.”

Reid said Shawn Andrews' back remains sore and that the team has not decided what to do about potentially adding another offensive lineman (say, Jon Runyan).

"I'm not sure what direction I will go there," Reid said. "We'll just see how Shawn does here for right now."

About whether Winston Justice, who played well at Carolina, could remain the starter if Andrews is available, Reid said, “Right now Shawn is struggling to make it out to practice, struggling to get through practice. I have not put those things into the computer yet.”

Reid also indicated that linebacker Joe Mays, who did not play because of a shoulder injury, is "making quite a little bit of progress there."

Kolb said Monday that getting to practice with the first team will be "a huge help." One game into his third season, he has never started an NFL game. Kolb said the starting mentality "is not a switch you can just flip on and off."

"I'm in my third year now; it's time to roll. No time better than now, if I do have to step out there."