THE NON-PRACTICE SQUAD

The Eagles have eight men on their practice squad and almost as many on the non-practice squad these days.

Coach Andy Reid said this morning that quarterback Donovan McNabb (chest contusion), running back Brian Westbrook (ankle), tight end L.J. Smith (back), fullback Tony Hunt (concussion) and guard Shawn Andrews (back) would all miss practice this afternoon.

Second-year defensive end Victor Abiamiri (thumb) also remained out of practice and will miss his fourth straight game as will wide receiver Kevin Curtis, who was expected to work with the scout team for the first time during this afternoon's practice.

McNabb said was still sore but expected to play Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Surprisingly, Westbrook is also holding out hope that he'll be recovered enough from the injury to his right ankle to play.

"I'm optimistic about getting out there and being able to play," Westbrook said. "I've been rehabbing pretty agressively, doing everything I can to be out there on the field Sunday night."

After leaving Lincoln Financial Field in a walking boot and on crutches Sunday night, Westbrook definitely appeared to be moving much better this morning when he made his weekly podium appearance at the NovaCare Complex.

"I've gotten better ... so I have that hope that I can get out there and play," he said.

Reid said Andrews, Smith and Hunt were all showing signs of improvement.

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