Brian Westbrook started practice with the Eagles' first-team offense today, but he didn't finish.

Westbrook ran with the first-team offense for the first half of practice, then jogged off the field and went into the training room about 40 minutes before it was over.

Don't panic. According to coach Andy Reid that was the plan all along for the team's star running back.

"Yeah, that was the plan," Reid said after practice. "We're throwing him in there a little more each day. He did a little more today than yesterday and we'll give him a little bit more tomorrow. We're just being smart with it and adding something every day."

Reid said the main thing the coaches and trainers are looking for is how Westbrook is moving.

"It has been real positive," Reid said. "He looked real good out there today."

The big question, of course, is whether Westbrook will be able to return Sunday against the Washington Redskins after missing the Eagles' loss to the Chicago Bears with a strained right ankle.

"We'll see, but he's making progress and we'll see how he does here the rest of the week," Reid said. "Every day has been a step forward."

Tomorrow's practice could end up being the determining factor in whether Westbrook plays even though his younger brother Byron, a member of the Redskins' practice squad, said he'd be surprised if the Eagles' star back is on the field Sunday.

Quarterback Donovan McNabb, limited in practice by a chest contusion Wednesday, was a full participant today. Cornerback Asante Samuel (chest) also was a full participant after being limited Wednesday. Tight end L.J. Smith, who missed the Chicago game with a back injury, said he is feeling considerably better and will play against the Redskins.