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Carr might play Sunday but Vinny might start

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers coach John Fox says
David Carr will play if he's healthy, but may not start. Carr says
he's getting healthy and expects to start.

And 43-year-old Vinny Testaverde insists he's OK as the starter
or backup.

The Panthers' much-dissected quarterback situation took another
twist Wednesday when Carr practiced without limitations. He said
his sore back is getting better, and he expects to be on the field
for the first series Sunday against Indianapolis.

"If I feel healthy, I would hope so," Carr said. "I think
Vinny probably feels the same way."

But Fox wouldn't name Carr the starter Wednesday, hinting at
perhaps some sort of two-man platoon. Or was it just a ploy to try
to confuse the Colts?

"I'm not hiding anything. I'm just not totally sure yet," Fox
said. "One guy hasn't practiced in quite some time and the other
guy is fairly new. So we'll keep you posted."

The unusual situation arose after Jake Delhomme was lost for the
season with a right elbow injury in Week 3.

Carr took over, then sustained what he called a compression
fracture in his lower back against New Orleans on Oct. 7. After
being carted off the field, he received treatment and took several
painkillers before returning in the second half and leading the
Panthers to a come-from-behind win.

But Carr couldn't play the following week, forcing the Panthers
to sign Testaverde. After only four days of practice, he threw for
206 yards, including the go-ahead 65-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith in the fourth quarter in a win at Arizona, becoming the
oldest starting quarterback to win an NFL game.

Fox has since refused to name a starter.

"Coach just said he'll make that decision later in the week,"
Testaverde said. "Maybe he's made his mind up, I don't know.
Either way, I always prepare as if I'm going to start the game.
That's the only way I know to prepare for a game. Whether David
plays or I play, I think this is team is good hands."

Carr, who joked in the locker room Wednesday that he had just
had his "72nd massage in 14 days," indicated he was happy
following his first full practice since the injury.

"I didn't feel great out there, but I felt better than I did
last week," Carr said. "I couldn't run last week. I was moving
around. I didn't feel I was limited. I was a little tight, maybe a
little rusty."

Carr acknowledged he has some extra motivation to be ready to
play against the Colts. He developed a dislike for the Super Bowl
champions when he faced them twice a year for division rival
Houston. Carr helped the Texans stun the Colts 27-24 in Week 16
last season, the last time Indianapolis lost.

"They know I don't like them. The Colts know that," Carr said.
"We've had our issues in the past. We've seen each other enough.
It's going to be fun, man. I just got to get my back right and get
this thing healthy so I can get a chance to go out there."

The key to either quarterback's success could be establishing
the running game, and Carolina has injury concerns there as well.

Running back DeShaun Foster missed practice Wednesday with a toe
injury, perhaps clearing the way for DeAngelo Williams, who rushed
for 121 yards against Arizona.

Reserve
running back and kick returner Nick Goings went on on injured reserve
on Wednesday, nearly a month after he sustained at least the third
concussion of his career.

The Panthers signed linebacker Donte Curry to replace him on the
53-man roster.

Linebacker Dan Morgan (Achilles),
running back and linebacker Adam Seward
(calf) also missed practice.

But the focus remains at quarterback, where Fox will choose
between two former No. 1 overall draft picks. Only Testaverde came
out of college in 1987, 15 years before Carr.

Testaverde, who turns 44 next month, wasn't sure he'd get
another job after he was released by New England before the start
of the regular season. But his play against the Cardinals gives the
Panthers another option.

"Whether David starts or I start and the other guy is unhappy
about it, and makes it known to the players and coaches and
everybody out there, it only hurts the team," Testaverde said.
"And I'm not about hurting the team. I'm here to help the team.
Whatever that role is I'm going to accept it and move forward with
it."