A day after learning that he has a hairline crack in the thumb of his right (throwing) hand, quarterback Brett Favre expressed confidence Tuesday that he could have started this weekend had the Green Bay Packers had a game to play instead of a bye.
But that doesn't mean he's upset about the time off.
"I guess the best way to put it," Favre said, "is I'm glad I don't have to find out."
Favre sustained the injury last Sunday in the first quarter of the Packers' Week 7 contest with the St. Louis Rams. Completing his follow-through on the team's first passing play of the game, Favre's hand struck the shoulder of guard Mike Wahle, who was blocking on the play.
Favre remained in the game, not knowing the full extent of the injury, and completed 23 of 32 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception.
"Did it hurt? Yeah," Favre said. "I don't think anyone knew, aside from me and (backup quarterback Doug Pederson), how bad it was. I didn't know it was broken, but I knew it hurt.
"But I was able to still play, but more than that, still be effective."
Favre didn't learn about the hairline crack until his thumb was X-rayed Monday morning.
Upon hearing results of the test, Favre initially feared the worst and thought his season might be over. But as the hours passed, Favre said he gained confidence that the thumb crack of 2003 isn't even as bad as the thumb sprain of 1999.
"Sometimes a sprain, strains, whatever, can actually be worse than broken bones," Favre said. "Is this one of those cases? I don't know. I feel like this is not as bad (as '99). It's only two days removed from this game and I don't feel it's as bad as that year, even though it wasn't broken then."
The location of the injury plays into Favre's confidence.
While the thumb sprain in '99 was near the base of his thumb, this injury is above the top knuckle, near the base of the thumbnail. In Favre's thinking, that leaves him without a fingertip, rather than an entire finger.
"At least here I have half a thumb," Favre said. "Then, I had no thumb."
Although he passed for 4,091 yards that season, looking back, Favre admitted Tuesday that he probably should have sat out with his injury in 1999. Had he done so, his consecutive starts streak would not be quite as illustrious as it is today.
Including playoffs, Favre has started in 197 consecutive games (180 regular-season), which is an NFL record for quarterbacks.
Last season he sprained the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee in the game prior to the Packers' bye week, but never missed a start.
Considering the way Favre finished off the Rams game last weekend, there's little reason to think this year's injury will have any more of a lasting effect than any of those prior.
Favre won't participate in practices this week and will have the injury re-evaluated Monday, but expects to be in the lineup when the Packers take on the Minnesota Vikings, November 2.
"I don't see any reason why I shouldn't be playing," Favre said. "I always figured if the bone wasn't sticking out of the skin, you could play. That's what they made tape for.
"Maybe I'm different. But I feel like I should play."