Westbrook Improving; McNabb Expects to Play

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said he expects to be on the field Sunday night when the Birds take on the Bears. (AP / Mel Evans)

     Andy Reid read a list of five offensive starters who would not be practicing today, as his team started preparing to vist the Chicago Bears this weekend. Five is a lot, in a sport where you can only have 11 on the field at a time. But the two marquee names, Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook, seemed hopeful about their chances of playing.

    "I'm optimistic about getting out there and being able to play," said Westbrook, who suffered what the Eagles have called a strained ankle in Sunday's victory over the Steelers. Westbrook has likened the injury to a high ankle sprain, which almost certainly would take more than a week for a running back to recover from, but he said Wednesday that "I've definitely gotten better since Sunday."

   Obviously, there is still quite a bit of time before the Birds have to make a decision on Westbrook's status.

    "I'm going to do what's best for me and this team," Westbrook said.

     He has compared his injury to the one suffered by Brian Dawkins in the preseason, at New England, which the team called an "ankle tendon strain." Dawkins was injured on Aug. 22, and as a veteran, wasn't scheduled to play in the remaining preseason game anyway. He returned for the Sept. 7 regular season opener.

     McNabb, meanwhile, said his chest contusion is more painful than it was when he finished Sunday's game with it.

    "I expect to be out there," McNabb said.

     Reid has said he expects FB Tony Hunt to be able to play. Less clear is the status of TE L.J. Smith (back), or RG Shawn Andrews (back).

     Wideout Kevin Curtis practiced yesterday for the first time since undergoing sports hernia surgery on Aug. 21. Curtis was to practice with the scout team. He is unlikely to play this week

      Not B-Dawk's lookBrian Dawkins, by the way, said he would take a pass on Westbrook's suggestion, that B-Dawk would be the teammate most suited for "Dancing with the Stars."

     "I'm not wearing the ruffles," Dawkins said.

        In other frivolous news, be sure to read our previous Wednesday entry and try your hand at suggesting a movie with which McNabb might identify.