Favre probable for Sunday
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Brett Favre threw several passes and passed one crucial test Wednesday in his first practice since breaking his right thumb 10 days earlier.
Favre, who will experiment with a variety of sheaths and splints this week, took several snaps from center Mike Flanagan and threw short tosses during 7-on-7 drills in the Green Bay Packers' workout that was closed to the media.
"Just trial and error basically today, but it went OK," said Favre, who has a hairline fracture beneath the fingernail on the thumb of his throwing hand.
Favre was listed as probable for Sunday's game at Minnesota.
He broke the thumb at St. Louis on Oct. 19, when he struck guard Mike Wahle's right shoulder pad on a follow-through. He stayed in the game and went 23-of-32 for 268 yards and two touchdowns.
If not for the Packers' bye week, however, Favre's streak of 197 consecutive starts, an NFL record for quarterbacks, might have been snapped.
On Wednesday, Favre revealed more about the severity of the injury, which he initially thought was a bad bruise.
"I felt something pop," Favre said. "But I figured, stuff pops every morning when I wake up. So, you kind of get used to that."
Therefore, Favre said he declined the team doctor's advice to have the thumb X-rayed at halftime. But when his thumb swelled to double its normal size as he warmed up for the third quarter, he encouraged backup Doug Pederson to get ready.
"That's the first time I've ever done that," Favre said.
An X-ray the day after the game revealed the fracture.
Initially, the Packers figured Favre wouldn't practice until Thursday, but he pushed up the timetable by 24 hours and also dismissed offensive coordinator Tom Rossley's suggestion that he not take any snaps and just hold the ball under center as he barked out the play calls.
Favre wore a metal splint Wednesday "and it felt awkward but I was able to throw the ball effectively," he said.
He said he'd rather not have anything on his thumb but the team's medical staff -- which prefers he sit out a game to let the bone knit -- insists he use some sort of protection if he does play.
"And I say, 'Fine, but I have to have some freedom in being able to throw. If you're going to leave me with four fingers, even though the thumb is there but it's like a cast, then it does me no good,"' Favre said.
Rossley said he wouldn't be surprised if Favre plays like his usual three-time MVP self on Sunday despite his broken thumb.
"That's what we're all hoping, that he'll come out with that Superman suit on and go," Rossley said.
Favre has a long history of recovering quickly from serious injuries.
With the help of a bye week last year, he overcame the scariest injury of his career to beat Miami two weeks after tearing a ligament in his left knee.
"I want to play because I think I can help this team win, not because I'm trying to be a tough guy or extend some streak," Favre said.
Quarterback Neil O'Donnell, 37, who was waived by Tennessee on Aug. 31, had a tryout with the Packers on Tuesday, but coach Mike Sherman said it had nothing to do with Favre's status for this week.
"Not at all. It's reflective of possibilities down the road if something were to happen," Sherman said. "He's fine, did a good job."
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press