Eagles' risk-reward different from doctor's

Updated: January 27, 2005, 12:00 PM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Terrell Owens is treating his doctor's orders the way he deals with pesky cornerbacks: shrugging them off and forging ahead.

Terrell Owens
Owens

Philadelphia Eagles head trainer Rick Burkholder said Wednesday that Owens started jogging and plans to continue rehabbing his injured ankle in an attempt to play in the Super Bowl.

Dr. Mark Myerson, the surgeon who operated on the All-Pro receiver in December, said Tuesday he would not clear Owens to suit up against the New England Patriots on Feb. 6.

"We understand Dr. Myerson's point of view. It's just that our risk-reward is different than his risk-reward," Burkholder said. "He has great risk in clearing Terrell to play and no reward. We think there's some risk and we think there's great reward, so right now we're going to progress with his rehab."

The final decision on Owens' status will come down to the player, coach Andy Reid and the team's medical staff.

"We're never going to put Terrell at risk," Reid said.

Owens was at the Eagles' practice facility for rehab work Wednesday, but the team said he wouldn't be made available to reporters until next week's mandatory media day at the Super Bowl.

On Monday, before hearing Myerson's bad news, Owens said: "Spiritually I've been healed and I believe that I'll be out there on that field Sunday, regardless of what anybody says."

Myerson inserted two screws in Owens' right ankle and a plate on the outside of the ankle three days after he was injured against Dallas on Dec. 19. By not clearing Owens to play, Myerson should be absolved of any blame if Owens goes against his wishes and winds up re-injuring the ankle.

Owens was told after surgery that he had only an outside chance of returning for the Super Bowl, which was 6½ weeks away at the time. But he rehabbed vigorously, hoping to help Philadelphia win its first NFL championship since 1960.

After a checkup Tuesday in Baltimore, Myerson said that while he's pleased with Owens' recuperation, the operation requires a recovery period of eight to 10 weeks. Myerson added that any attempt to accelerate the rehabilitation process poses the same risk for injury.

Burkholder said Owens worked out on a treadmill when he returned to Philadelphia on Tuesday.

"We will continue to see whether he can jog and see how he does day in and day out, see if he can change direction," Burkholder said.

"If he passes all those tests, then we'll start talking about practice time. Right now, the game isn't even in our vision right now. If he has any setbacks in his rehab, then the whole idea of playing in the Super Bowl is probably off."

In his first season with the Eagles after eight years in San Francisco, Owens led Philadelphia with 77 catches for 1,200 yards and 14 TDs.

Quarterback Donovan McNabb and other Eagles have said they don't need Owens to beat the defending champion Patriots, who are 7-point favorites.

"If T.O. plays, it's an added bonus," McNabb said. "If he doesn't, it's not going to stop anything we're doing. You have to have it in the back of your mind about your future, so that's a tough call. That's something as a player you have to think about."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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