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Favre Tests Thumb In Practice


Ten days removed from sustaining a hairline crack in the thumb of his right (throwing) hand, Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre was back throwing the ball at practice Wednesday.

Of course, how much and how well, only he and his teammates know.

With Favre on the comeback trail from injury and a crucial match-up on the horizon, the Packers closed their practices to the media this week as they prepare for Sunday night's game with the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings.

"I did a little bit," Favre said of his participation. "It was more or less seeing what I could take and (testing) different types of wraps and stuff. Just trial and error today, but it went okay."

Listed as probable on the team's injury report, Favre's participation this week is contingent upon his wearing some sort of protective brace on his thumb.

Although the swelling in his hand has gone down over the past week, the potential exists that the hairline crack could become something far worse if the thumb took another direct hit.

Because of that, the normally anti-brace Favre is being cooperative with the Packers medical staff as they attempt to agree on a method of wrapping the hand that will protect the thumb without compromising Favre's grip or delivery.

"If you're going to leave me with four fingers, even if the thumb is there, it's like a cast; it does me no good," Favre said. "We did some things with a splint and it felt awkward, but I was able to throw the ball effective."

Favre chose his words somewhat carefully Wednesday as he looked to describe his practice performance, but when wide receiver Javon Walker was asked if the three-time NFL MVP's passes seemed adversely affected by the injury, there was no hesitation.

"Not that I noticed," Walker said. "He still came out throwing the ball like he normally has been. Obviously (we're) getting some of the other quarterbacks ready, just in case, but he looked like the same old Brett to me."

And in so many ways, 'same old Brett' has been here before.

Looking to appear in what would be his 200th consecutive game, making what would be his 198th consecutive start (both including playoffs), Favre has battled through his fair share of injuries over his 13-year professional career.

Among them, Favre played the entire 1999 season with sprained ligaments in his right thumb and posted 4,091 passing yards.

Last season, a sprained lateral collateral ligament couldn't keep him on the bench. And even this year, in the Packers' last game, Oct. 19, Favre managed to post a 104.7 passer rating against the Rams despite hurting his thumb on the third play of the game.

"If he can walk, he can play," wide receiver Donald Driver said Wednesday, assessing Favre's status for this week and any thereafter.

But even if Favre's toughness has become his trademark, the quarterback insisted that he wouldn't let his pride get in the way if playing through an injury would adversely affect the team.

"The bottom line is I want to play," Favre said, "but I want to play because I want to help the team win, not because I'm trying to be a tough guy or extend some streak ... That's not what I'm about. I think this team knows that.

"I wouldn't want one of my teammates to play just to be a tough guy if I thought the next guy could be more effective. And I don't want the guys to think that of me. I feel like I can help and know that it will hurt, know that there are some risks involved, but I'm willing to take those risks."

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